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   The World Tomorrow. Garner Ted Armstrong brings you the plain truth about today's world views and the prophecies of the World Tomorrow.

   And greetings, friends around the world. Many people say one of the main things that helped Jimmy Carter into the White House is the fact that he, like 50 million other adult Americans, has been born again. But what do you mean, born again? I mean, what does it mean to be born again for poll-taking purposes? I found a brand new definition of that in the newspapers not long ago, in some of the leading weekly news magazines.

   You can think of some of the evangelical expressions a some of the feelings that people might voice to you about how it was when they were born again. Some of them claim that it is only evidence by a charismatic experience called glossal. I guess they pronounce it, which means speaking in tongues. And I guess some groups actually say that that is the only evidence that you were, in fact, born again.

   Others would say perhaps that, without having to go through the experience of speaking in other tongues or languages, they nevertheless had a deep emotional experience. They made a commitment to Jesus. They were converted, regenerated. They were basically a person who had a dramatic emotional experience and gave their hearts to Christ, accepted him as their personal savior, etc., etc., to these millions and millions of people. No doubt, that's a very deeply personal experience and something that is very important to them and something that they really do firmly believe in.

   So, let's understand exactly what the Bible says about being born again. And on the other hand, let's understand how words tend to change with usage over a period of time.

   You can hear people talking about how they went to a party and something happened that was terribly embarrassing, and the lady will say, 'I was just mortified.' Now, she doesn't know she's using a term that means 'I was killed.' I mean, they absolutely, you know, buried me, laid me away, and that's the end of me. I was killed. Mortified means today, humiliated. But, it doesn't really, it means to be killed, but we changed it because we like to use hyper superlatives.

   When someone sees something which is very believable, which is factual, which really happened and which is accurate, they will say, 'That is unbelievable,' and they mean by that, that it is very believable. When someone sees something which is actually happening, maybe a 96-yard football return for a goal, they will say incredible, which means unbelievable. But it isn't incredible or unbelievable. It is very believable because you're seeing it happen.

   So, we have turned many words around. We use complete opposites from the actual meaning. Just like when people say the Bible says the wages of sin is death. The average New Testament so-called born-again Christian of today believes the wages of sin is not either death, it is eternal life.

   Now, if born again means an experience, then why did Jesus Christ of Nazareth tell Nicodemus, it meant literally being changed from a human being into a spirit being? Why did Jesus say that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit? Why does the Bible call Jesus Christ the firstborn of many brethren? Why does it say that he who was called the second Adam, as opposed to the first Adam, typically showing the very first captain of spiritual salvation is spirit that he was born by a resurrection from the dead into a spirit life?

   Why did Jesus use water and air as types of the Holy Spirit? And tell Nicodemus? 'It's just like air. You can't see the air; you can't see where it came from or where it is going.' That's what it means to be born again — is to actually, by a resurrection or an instantaneous changing from fleshly to divine, from human into spirit, being born again.

   Now, you ought to write for that booklet. 'Just what do you mean... Born Again?' and get the answers because it's all there. 'Just what do you mean... Born Again?' What does the Bible say, as opposed to what many, many people think? What do you mean, Born Again? A free booklet you can have if you will dial that toll-free number 800-423-4444, 800-423-4444. And you can have that free booklet. 'Just what do you mean... Born Again?'

   Well, you know, I want you to turn, if you will. Now, if you're driving in your automobile, just remember John the third chapter and look it up when you get home or better yet, remember that toll-free number and call in, get that booklet on the way to you, and find out why Jesus said what he did to Nicodemus.

   Here's the thing that I'm absolutely positive if you're going to agree with me on if you had never in your entire life heard the expression born again. And the only usage of the English word born that you had ever known of had to do with calves or with humans or with whales or any of the mammals, as opposed to being hatched, let's say like out of an egg. But the word born meant exactly what it means to all of us—the date of your birth when you, as a human being, were brought into this earth by whether the old country doctor or whether in a cab or on the steps of the hospital or however it was that it happened to you.

   One of my very good friends used to chuckle about the time he was almost removed as gallstones. And, was it? I don't know. But anyway, the way he tells it is hilarious because they diagnosed what was wrong with his mother as something very much different than pregnancy. And who was in there was John, and John would tell us about how they, they, I think they had her all the way to the hospital when his father just determinedly said that isn't what's wrong with you. And we're getting out of here and got her clothes and took her home and just in time to spare John from being removed by the doctor's scalpel. And you can imagine the surprise of the doctor when instead of finding a gallstone or something, there was John.

   Now anyway, you were born, I was born. All the human beings of this earth have been born, and they were born of fleshly human parents. The last several days. I've even been talking about the fact that entirely too many human babies coming to the earth today are being born illegitimately. That illegitimacy and children being born without a father and into a strong family structure are coming along by the hundreds of thousands. There's no question about what born means.

   Now, Nicodemus was, in fact, a human being who, as I said, you by experiment, we could just imagine that you would never even have heard the word, you never heard it misused. You didn't know anything at all about glossal or the charismatic movements or evangelicals. You knew nothing about altar calls. You knew nothing about the sawdust trails or tent camp evangelism or the choir softly singing 'Just as I am' while you come forward and they tell you, Jesus always called everybody publicly. And so, you've got to do it publicly, and you haven't heard any of this. You're just totally like a person from outer space. You know what the word born means, but you don't know any of this stuff about the evangelical meaning of it.

   And Jesus would say the following to you: 'I tell you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.'

   Now, Nicodemus answered—you can find this in the third chapter, John, in verse four (John 3:4), 'How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born a man?' I mean, that's getting a little risque, isn't it? I mean, Nicodemus was really kind of putting him down, wasn't he? He was, you know, I guess he always was accustomed to the fact that Jesus was getting a reputation for saying some awfully funny things. Jesus would say some strange things. They said that his doctrine was so strange and so shocking and so different that people were continually getting upset by it. They just couldn't understand much of what Jesus said.

   So, Nicodemus has got just a little bold. I mean, that's pretty rough conversation. You know, if you're sitting there at the luncheon table and somebody says, 'I'm telling you, you gotta be born again. What am I supposed to do? Crawl back into my mother's womb?' You know, that's not exactly what you'd call lunchtime conversation, is it?

   But let me tell you something. It's exactly what the Bible says. Nicodemus answered. Does that or does that not illustrate to you that the only meaning that the word born conveyed to Nicodemus's mind is the same meaning it conveys to your mind when you think about the day of your birth? It's the same meaning. Exactly. It means coming out of the womb and being born. No other meaning came into Nicodemus's mind.

   Now, look at the unbelievable opportunity that Jesus missed. He could have told Nicodemus exactly how long he had to tarry. He could have said, 'Yay, verily, and thou shall tarry for 24 hours until we pray the spirit down.' He could have done anything. He could have had a marvelous opportunity to tell old Nicodemus. You know, we could have had a brand new song. We could have had a whole new story. I mean, the evangelicals could be preaching until the veins are descending and the sweat is pouring down about what Jesus said, 'Nicodemus, Nicodemus, I tell you, you've got to stay there for days until you pray the spirit down. Why, you gotta agonize and you gotta speak in tongues, and I want you to make at least, you know, kind of be an old evangelical type of Evil Knievel. See how many chairs you can jump over. Stack up 11 of them, try for nine. You know, if you break a shin. So, what, try a few more.'

   No, he didn't do that at all. He really missed an unbelievable opportunity because he just went on and began to explain exactly what he meant by the words being born again. And he said, 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.'

   Now entering into the Kingdom of God is the goal. That's the object of the conversation. That is the whole subject that Jesus is bringing up, and being born of water into the spirit is a means to that end. So, you also need to get straightened out. Just what is the Kingdom of God? Is the Kingdom of God a human emotional state of being? Is the Kingdom of God a sentiment within you? Is it a general kind of a mystical belonging to something by acceptance of Christ as a personal savior which can happen to all peoples in all religions universally, so that they all in that sense are sort of in the Kingdom of God? Is Kingdom of God the Roman Catholic church during the Middle Ages? Is it the British Empire of long ago? It's long since disintegrated. Some people used to believe the Kingdom of God was the British Empire. There was a song years ago that the guy was holding hands with his girl in the back seat, I guess. And he says, 'This is the Kingdom of God.' People got all kinds of ideas of what is the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God.

   Now, you're way ahead of me. You know, I'm gonna say we got a booklet on that because people say we've got a booklet for almost everything. You're right. We've got a booklet. 'Just what do you mean the Kingdom of God?' And to give you a clue ahead of time, it is a kingdom ruled by God from heaven, which is according to what the Bible says, going to be set up in a specific place, have literal specific subjects be ruled by specific laws, have a particular King who will administer those laws over those subjects in that area. And it is very, very clearly true in the Bible that the Kingdom of God must contain all of those appropriate and necessary parts or components, which would make it a Kingdom just as much as any other kingdom, which is a form of government under a divine, in this case, ruler, a divine King, as opposed to the human form of government under an absolute monarchy as we might call it. It's a Kingdom just like any earthly kingdom, except with significant differences. So, you write for that booklet, 'Just what do you mean the Kingdom of God?' and get the answer to that question as well.

   Now, it has a great deal to do with the question about what do you mean born again as we're going to see before this program is over. When Jesus then, after he heard Nicodemus very obvious statement, maybe a little bit, a little bit crude, maybe even a little bit with an intent to make Jesus look ridiculous. But Nicodemus said, now, how can you be telling me that a person can actually get back into his mother's womb again when he's a grown older man and be born? This is ridiculous. Nicodemus is feeling. And Jesus said, 'Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh.' True, true. No, not incredible. True. 'That which is born of the spirit is spirit.' Is that true? Yes, it's just as true as the statement we just read before it.

   Then how come these 50 million American people don't believe it. I don't know. Do you, can you answer that? I don't know why they don't believe it. Don't ask me, ask them. I, I don't believe it that way. I believe that Jesus meant what he said that if you're born of the spirit, that's what you are, you are spirit, you become spirit. I'm going to prove to you that that's what the Bible actually says, not only here but in other scriptures as well.

   I so well, remember years ago, very nice little old lady. She had been in a religion. I think her husband may have even been a minister. I forget. But anyway, she was visiting the Ambassador College campus way back in the nineteen fifties. And we got into a conversation on this very same scripture and she wanted me to expound it and to explain it to her. And I was explaining it and I went around by the North Pole when I got to this scripture and I said, 'Now I'm human and I'm fleshly and I'm of my parents. And, and I have a skeletal muscular nervous circulatory system and a way to keep me alive is to breathe air, breathing in and breathing out and drink water and eat food. And if I cut myself, there's blood in there and a way to stay alive is keep that blood in there. Don't let it out. Now, you're the same. We have a physical chemical existence. It says here in the Bible that which is born of the flesh is flesh. A calf is born of the flesh and it's flesh. A dog is born of the flesh and it is flesh or whales and narwhals and dolphins and humans. We are born of the flesh and we are flesh, aren't we? I don't think her name was Mrs. McGillicuddy, but let's say it was. And so, I asked her, I said, 'Now, here's my fist, here's my hand, my arm.'

   Now, now, go ahead. Let's, let's just hear you. Shake hands with me for a moment. And I said, now I'm flesh, aren't I? Really trying to take my time to make sure she'd give me a yes answer and not look at me like some people have and said, 'No, I'm not flesh, I'm spirit.' I mean, I've had some weird answers out of people, but this little old lady knew that she was human, physical muscle and flesh. Well, maybe not much muscle. But anyway, flesh and bone and blood and tissue and sinew and so on. So, we agreed so far, so good. We had progressed all the way from the third chapter of John and verse one right up to the middle of verse six before we ran into trouble, and we agreed absolutely beautifully on every point up until then (John 3:6). 'That which is born of the flesh is flesh.'

   Now, Mrs. McGillicuddy, I may have said, but I don't remember her name exactly, 'that which is born of the spirit is spirit.' But then I even went on to read the rest of Jesus' statement in which he said, 'Now, don't marvel at that. Don't get distraught. Don't let your mind get short-circuited or think I mean something I don't. Don't let it bug you. Don't let it bother you. Marvel not that I said you got to be born again. The wind blows wherever it wants to. You can hear it, but you can't tell where it comes from and where it goes.' Verse eight (John 3:8). 'So is everyone that is born of the spirit, just like the wind? Hear the wind over there in the trees, Mr. McGillicuddy? Hear it around underneath the corner of the eaves there. You can hear the wind out in the desert and hear the wind. You can't see it, though. Can you? No, you can't see wind? Well, now Jesus said, you're like that. When you're born in the spirit, you're invisible. Nobody can see you. Can I see you, Mrs. M? I see you. There. There you are. And we agreed that we could be seen and that things that were like the wind couldn't be seen.

   Now, Nicodemus still didn't get it. And so even then Nicodemus said, 'Well, how can these things be?' So, Jesus said, 'Now look, you, you're a leader here, you're a teacher and you don't know this. Let me tell you something,' you said in verse 12 (John 3:12). 'If I have told you earthly things and you don't believe. How can I tell you heavenly things? How will you believe those?' And then he began to say something almost nobody in the Christian religion believes. Verse 13 (John 3:13), 'No man hath ascended up to heaven. But he that came down from heaven, even the son of man, which is in heaven.' And then begins this statement about eternal life. Because what he's talking about in context in John three is eternal life, being born into the Kingdom of God. And he began to say something else that nobody believes. And that is in the favorite text of millions of people, John 3:16, 'For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish.' Why nobody believes anybody is going to perish. They believe fruit perishes and spoils and gets rotten that meat can perish. They talk about perishables, meaning all the types of fruits and vegetables and so on. We make salads and cook the vegetables, perishables that can spoil. But they don't believe people are going to perish or spoil or rot or decay. No, they think they're, they're around by the very gift of physical life that they've got eternal life. They're automatically going to live all throughout eternity. But instead he says that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but the opposite of that have eternal life. So, what he's talking about is eternal life. And he's saying you can't have that eternal life. You can't get into the Kingdom of God unless you are born again.

   Now I went back and I waded through it again. And I said, now, now we know that you would be invisible. You would be actually a member of the family of God. You would be in the kingdom of God. You would be like the wind. You could go where you want to and no one could even see you. And it says here, if you're born of the flesh, you are flesh, that's what you are. We agree to that. Now, it says if you're born of the spirit, you are spirit.

   Now, I said, here comes the question, Mrs. McGillicuddy. Have you been born of the spirit? Oh, yes. Praise the Lord. And I gave up at that point. I just thought, well, that's very nice. She believes that it's important to her. It's just a matter of terminology. I just can't quite understand it, but I just didn't cover it correctly. I must not have explained it correctly. I said something here that just confused this dear little old lady, and I just didn't get the point across. So, believe me, I quit trying right then and there. She didn't really ask me for any more explanations, and I'd probably failed somehow in explaining to her that Jesus meant what Jesus said that this is the most ancient example. This is the first time in all of recorded history that anybody ever used the terminology born again.

   Now I'm saying that if you had been on the proverbial desert island, you knew what the word born meant. But you'd never read about the charismatic movements. You didn't know anything at all about tent camp evangelism or sawdust trails or altar calls or 'just as I am' or that Jesus called people publicly or 'won't you come' or 'give your heart to the Lord' or 'bless you, Jesus.' You've never heard any of the sentimental language at all. But you were just a citizen that understood the word born. And someone said, 'I'm telling you, you will never inherit eternal life. You'll never get into God's kingdom unless you be born again.' If your mind didn't immediately interpret those words born again into something you think you are seeing happening around you or that happened to your father and mother or your friends, let me tell you your answer. Your question would be exactly the same as was Nicodemus. You would say, 'What are you talking about? How can a person when he is old enter into his mother's womb the second time?' Nicodemus wasn't trying to be funny necessarily. He just honestly didn't know what Christ was talking about. And so, Jesus explained it.

   Now, did you know that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was born again? You know, I remember, I don't know who it was or what it was, but somebody really thought they'd nailed me a good one, I guess, or maybe it was my father. Because in some of the booklets and articles where we've written about being born again, we've made the statement that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was born of God by a resurrection. And we quoted the scripture which proved that. And so, someone comes along and puts in some little track somewhere. 'Armstrong claims that Jesus had to be born again.'

   Now, you know what they mean by that is they're trying to twist the words around to make it appear as if we are saying Christ was in need of conversion. Because by the twisted meaning of the words born again, if they take that to mean a charismatic experience of coming forward to confess sins and to receive Christ, how can Christ receive Christ? I'd like to ask in the first place, but no, I don't believe anything of the kind, but I'll tell you what I do believe.

   I believe the eighth chapter of the book of Romans. I believe the 15th chapter of I Corinthians, I believe every chapter and every verse of all of the Bible. Did you not know that God's word? Very plainly says that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was the first born of many brethren. That happens to be a fact. Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the first born among many brethren. If you'll turn to Romans eight and verse 29 you will read the following and I quote (Romans 8:29), 'For whom he did for no, he also did predestined to be conformed to the image of his son that he might be the first born among many brethren.'

   Jesus is called the first born because the Bible said he was to have preeminence in everything. He is also called the first begotten. I remember the Greek word that Jesus used in John three is Gennao double G-e-n-n-a-o and that means both conception and the whole process by which a fetal growth and development occurs up until punctuation. At the end of nine months in the human cycle at least, and birth occurs, there was only one word and they didn't differentiate in the Greek language like beget and birth. The way we do. The word Gennao was the one word that meant the whole process by which human birth occurs. So even though the Bible says, Jesus was first begotten of God, the Father as well as being the first born of God, the Father. It might have been the same Greek word. But the translators recognize the difference between speaking of Christ as the first begotten of the Father, having the Holy Spirit poured out without measure as opposed to being the first born of many brethren after the time of the resurrection of the dead.

   Now, the 15th chapter of I Corinthians is perhaps the end of the puzzle because it does show that the Bible preaches and teaches a resurrection from the dead. He says in verse 12 (I Corinthians 15:12), 'If Christ be preached that he rose from the dead. How some say among you that there is no resurrection of the dead,' and people even then were claiming, 'Oh, you don't need to be resurrected. You can just go to heaven.' But the Bible preaches the resurrection of the dead. If there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen? Why should he rise? Unless he is up there at the right hand of God, the father to make intercession and to bring about the resurrection of the dead. And he says in verse 14 (I Corinthians 15:14), 'If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is vain and your faith is vain.' And he said in verse 17 (I Corinthians 15:17), 'If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain and your yet in your sins.'

   Now notice in verse 22 (I Corinthians 15:22), as in Adam, all die. And let's remember what we read in John three as we go along that which is born in the flesh is flesh, and all human beings, as it says in the book of James, it is given to man to die once, the staying of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law. Death is the wages of sin. We humanly and physically are going to die because that's the end of our chemical existence.

   So, let's understand. The Bible says as in Adam, all die. So, in Christ shall all be made alive. But he says verse 23 there's a time element here (I Corinthians 15:23). Every man in his own order. Christ, the first fruits. He is the first born among many brethren. Christ has been born into eternal life. Every man in his own order. In due time, Christ the first fruits. Afterward. Not today, not in the first century, the second or third, the 10th or the 11th or the 12th century. When people were accepting Christ and becoming Christians and becoming converted. What about Peter, James, Bartholomew, Thaddeus, John, and Paul? They died. Are they in heaven? The answer is no, they are in their graves, utterly unconscious awaiting a resurrection. It says afterward, they that are Christ at his coming.

   Then comes the end when he shall have delivered up the kingdom of God. Even the father, when he shall have put down all rule of authority and power for he must reign till he has put all enemies under his feet. Now let me show you something a little later on in this chapter where it talks about the glory of the sun, verse 41 of the moon, the stars, they all differ. And he says so is the resurrection of the dead. Verse 42 (I Corinthians 15:42). It is sown in corruption. That's a human physical body, perishable of the flesh born of the flesh and it is going to die a fleshly death. It is raised, that is the resurrection, in corruption sown in dishonor, raised in glory, sown in weakness, raised in power. It is sown in natural body. It is raised a spiritual body that which is born of the flesh is flesh. That's the natural body. The one which dies, that which is born of the spirit is spirit. It is raised a spiritual body. Verse 44 there is a natural body and there is a spiritual body (I Corinthians 15:44).

   And so, it was written, the first man, Adam was made a living soul, a living being living in the Hebrew nephesh in the Greek psyche. The last Adam that's Christ was made a quickening spirit. Jesus was made a quickening spirit. He said that which is born of the flesh is flesh, that which is born of the spirit is spirit. He was born of the spirit, he became spirit. He was made a quickening spirit, howbeit that was not first, which is spiritual, but that which is natural flesh, flesh, spirit, spirit, afterward that which is spirit. And then he said, the kingdom of God cannot be inherited by flesh and blood. Verse 50 (I Corinthians 15:50). But he said in verse 51 (I Corinthians 15:51). I show you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, meaning die, but we shall all be changed. And in verse 52 he said (I Corinthians 15:52), it will happen in a moment in the twinkling of an eye. At the last Trump, the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed. We he says shall put on immortality.

   Well, there's the answer. No, no one's been born again except Jesus Christ of Nazareth in all of history. And the only time a human Christian is going to be born again is when he is born of a resurrection into a spirit being. Write for this booklet. Just what do you mean... Born Again? Call that toll-free number 800-423-4444, 800-423-4444 for the free booklet on Born Again or you can write to me Garner Ted Armstrong, Pasadena California.

   Until next time, this is Garner Ted Armstrong saying don't get mad at me. I can't help it. The Bible really does say that.

   You have heard the World Tomorrow with Garner Ted Armstrong, sponsored by the worldwide church of God for literature offered on this program, send your requests along with the call letters of this station to Garner Ted Armstrong Pasadena, California 91123. Or you may dial this toll-free number 800-423-4444.

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Broadcast Date: 1977