Are You Born Again?
Telecast Date: November 9, 1978
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   People say, "I believe in God all right," but you don't believe what he says. Here's what he says. I came to believe that. Now maybe I'm a little foolish, but also if I am, I'll be foolish, but I believe not only in God, I believe God. And I've found that very few do. Adam and Eve didn't believe God; they believed Satan. And the whole world has been believing Satan ever since.

The World Tomorrow the Worldwide Church of God presents the World Tomorrow with Herbert W Armstrong... ladies and gentlemen Herbert W Armstrong.
   People say to me, "Well, I believe in God all right." Well, why, because you've always heard it? Have you proved that there is a God? No, they haven't. But I usually say to them, "Yeah, you may believe in God, but do you believe God?" I mean, do you believe what he says? That's something else again, isn't it?
   Well, I not only believe in God, now I believe God. But for a while, I was shaken, and I didn't know what I believed. And I said, "Look, I have always believed there is a God," because I'd taken it for granted. I've always heard it. I'd been taught it in Sunday school. I grew up being taught it, and I believed it. But I'd never seen any proof. And I said, "Now I've got to know." I can't go around just believing in superstitions. I've got to know if this is true.
   I know this: that I was challenged on the matter of evolution, and I delved very, very deeply, in-depth into the writings of Darwin, and Haeckels, and Huxley, and Spencer, and Lyle, and Vogt, and Chamberlain, and even Lamarck before them, and so on. And for the moment, I almost began to wonder, "Does God exist?" I tell you, you read the writings of those men, and you'll think there isn't any God, because evolution, I've found, is the atheists' explanation of the presence of a creation which we see, but without any creator that it just happened.
   In other words, evolution claims that all of the things we see have developed over millions and millions of years by a process of evolution, which had to start some way, and they can't define how it started because no one was there. And they don't say, incidentally, that we have come from apes. They say that we are descended from some kind of animals like the apes, but one branch went off into apes, and another branch into the human family.
   They don't say that we came from monkeys, incidentally, if you don't understand it. But they have some very convincing arguments. And I'll make a long story short right here by saying: I have found absolute scientific proof of the existence of a creator, a designer, the fountain basis of all basic knowledge the great creator God. Now once I proved that God exists, I said, "If there is such a God, has he communicated to man? Has he spoken to man? What can we know about him?"

Prove God Exists

   And I said, "Well, now, the different religions have their religious writings." For example, the Moslems have the Koran, and so on. The Christian religion is supposed to have the Bible. And I said, "I'm going to look into these different writings, and I'm going to see if any of them prove to be the infallible revelation, inspired by this God that I now have proved exists."
   One proof, incidentally, was my own mind, which I said is superior to anything that my mind can design and think out and produce. And since I am greater than anything I can produce, therefore whatever produced my mind had to be a greater mind than my mind. Can you say that something less than my mind produced me? I can't. That's only one of the proofs.
   I went into the Bible, and the next thing is, I proved beyond any shadow of a doubt, absolute proof to me and I don't have to prove it to anybody else, I'm not trying to do that. I wanted to prove to myself, and I proved that the Bible in its original writings is the inspired, authentic word from the living God, and therefore it is supreme in authority. Now then if I'm going to look for the church, here is my authority.
   Now maybe a church is the supreme authority, but I haven't seen the proof. Now my mind would be open if anyone from that church wants to give me the proof that it is, but I proved that this is a supreme authority. I proved the Bible, and then I went into this. I saw that God had a purpose in bringing mankind into existence. Why were you born? Now I have a booklet on that Why Were You Born? I'd be glad to send that to anyone free, no cost whatsoever.
   And there's another parallel booklet that I do happen to have here: What Do You Mean... Born Again? You know, even the heads of some governments don't know what it means to be born again. And some may think they do. And they ought to read, and find out what this infallible word says is "being born again."

[Commercial break: What Do You Mean... Born Again?]

   For example, why don't we just turn right back here in the 3rd chapter of John (John 3:1). This is early in the life of Jesus, during his ministry, probably in late 27 or 28 A.D. "There was man of the Pharisees," and the Pharisees were a ruling class in Judea at that time, over 1900 years ago, "named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. And the same came to Jesus by night." Now he sneaked in there, because he didn't want anyone to see him come.
   This man was one of the rulers of the Pharisees, and he said unto Jesus, "Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God." We, we Pharisees, know. Now they already knew that. They knew he was the Messiah, that he came from God. I want you to notice that point as we go along. "For no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him."

Except A Man Be Born Again

   "So 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." Now notice this. The kingdom of God is something that can be seen with your eyes. But it can't be seen until after you have been born again, and those who have not been born again can't even see it. All right, let's continue.
   "Nicodemus said unto him..." He couldn't quite get that, being born again, you know. He knew he'd been born from his own mother. He said: Well, now how that can be? "How can a man be born when he's old? Can he enter the second time in his mother's womb and be born?" He knew what being born meant. It didn't mean that the kingdom of God is just an ethereal nothing set up in your mind and heart that mean nothing, and that's what people think being born again means. It just means if you...
   It reminds me of this young man I mentioned before that said to me over 40 years ago... He said, "Well, Mr. Armstrong, I gave my heart to the Lord last night." And I said, "Was the Lord there?" And he said no. "Well, I said, was the surgeon there?" No. "Well, there wasn't any surgeon to sort of cut you open and let you reach in and take your heart out and hand it?" No. "Well," I said, "what do you mean, that you gave your heart to the Lord then?" "Well," he said, "I just guess I don't know." He didn't know what did happen to him. And in other words, it's a lot of mystic nothing.
   Now this is concrete. This is definite; it's something that's real. That's what I want you to get. "How can a man be born when he's old?" Well, "Jesus answered, 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." So you not only can see the kingdom of God, it's something you can enter into, but you have to be born first. Born of God!
   Now we were born of man. Being born again is not born of man again, but born of God. "Now that which is born of the flesh is flesh." Nicodemus was flesh. I am flesh, you are flesh. That's what we are! We were born of the flesh, we are of flesh! And he said, "That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit." It's not flesh any longer. It's not matter, it is composed of spirit. Those that say they have been born again they're sincere, they believe it.
   But they ought to study the word of God, and God's own explanation and that of Christ a little further, and maybe they would see that they have been deceived. And a deceived man it's not a disgrace to be deceived. A deceived man can be just ever so sincere, and so honest, and he believes he's right. So I'm not condemning him. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit."

You Have To Become Spirit To Enter Kingdom

   And you have to become Spirit before you can see the kingdom of God. You have to become Spirit before you can enter into the kingdom of God. Now notice it's something you're going to enter into, and you can see. And how he said, "Marvel not that I say unto you that you shall be born again, for the wind blows where it listeth..." Now the spirit is often compared to wind or air in the Bible, and he's using that comparison here.
   "You hear the sound of it, but cannot whether it cometh, or whither it goeth," where it's coming from or where it's going to, "so is everyone that is born of the Spirit." Well now, the people that think they've been born again in this world are not like that at all, and they are not spirit, they are still flesh. Well, Nicodemus didn't exactly understand it. And a little later, something else that people don't understand, Jesus said, "No man has ascended up to heaven," in verse 13 (John 3:13), and not many believe that, so they don't believe what Christ said.
   People say, "I believe in God all right," but you don't believe what he says. Here's what he says. I came to believe that. Now maybe I'm a little foolish, but also if I am, I'll be foolish, but I believe not only in God, I believe God. And I've found that very few do. Adam and Eve didn't believe God; they believed Satan. And the whole world has been believing Satan ever since.

[Commercial break: Why Were You Born?]

   Now let's turn over to I Corinthians, and I Corinthians [15] is the resurrection chapter of the Bible. I might as well tell you that right now. I can't take the whole chapter, I won't have time, but certain portions of it here, we can go through. Well, I'm going to begin back here in the 3rd verse where Paul, writing to the church at Corinth. They had been Gentiles, now were converted. (I Corinthians 15:3)
   "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. And that he was buried, and that he rose again on the third day, according to the scriptures." Now "according to the scriptures" means, as Jesus said, the only sign he gave: he would be three days and three nights in the tomb after he was killed, before this resurrection.
   If you can figure three days and three nights out of being buried Friday evening, crucified on Friday and resurrected early Sunday morning, then again I'd like to give you about a thousand dollars. And I don't think I'll have to give it, because you can't figure that. "And that he was seen of Cephas," which is Simon Peter, "And of the twelve. After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain unto the present," when Paul was writing this letter, "but some have fallen asleep."
   Now isn't that funny. The Bible talks about dying being "falling asleep." Today, they say he "passed away." Is that the way you speak of anyone who died? Are you afraid to he say he died, that he's dead? Well, the Bible says when you die, you're dead. It's like that dog Rover: when he died, he died all over. And that's the way we do, brethren, whether we... And it's appointed in the Bible once, it's appointed to all men once to die!
   And is in Adam, and I'll come to that right here in this chapter, all die! It doesn't say: "All pass away." The "pass away" comes from the immortal soul lie, and twice the Bible says "the soul that sinneth, it shall die," not "live forever." It shall die. "After that, he was seen of James, and then of all the apostles, and last of all, he was seen of me, as one born out of due time." He said, in another place, "Have I not seen Christ?"
   Well, he didn't see him before his resurrection, or before his death. So apparently, when Paul speaks of having been for three years down in Arabia, that's where Christ appeared to him, supernaturally, after Christ had ascended to heaven, and taught Paul separately. Now, it continues in verse 12 (I Corinthians 15:12), "Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?"

Bible Teaches Resurrection Not Heaven

   It doesn't teach going to heaven when you die. It teaches that the dead do not know anything, in the Bible, in Ecclesiastes. And also it says there will be a resurrection. And in the resurrection, it'll be like the next thousandth or millionth of a second in your consciousness from the time you died.
   Anyone who commits suicide doesn't realize that just bang, like that the first clap is when the bullet goes through his brain and he loses consciousness, and the second clap is when he wakes up in the kingdom of God, and he still has all of his problems and troubles before him, and now he's got a murder, a self-murder of having killed himself, on his hands besides.
   But he says there, "If there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is vain, and our faith is also in vain." And, in verse 17 (I Corinthians 15:17), "If Christ be not raised, your faith is in vain. You are yet in your sins." In other words, the only hope of life after death is the resurrection, and it's appointed all men once to die, but it's all appointed all people to be resurrected from that death. And everyone who has ever died is going to be brought back to life in the resurrection.
   Now then, let's come on a little later, verse 22 (I Corinthians 15:22): "As in Adam all die." You see, the penalty of sin is not this first death. We all die this first death because of Adam's sin, not because of our own sin. The penalty that is the penalty for our sin when we commit sin, and we all have, every one of us, is the second death. After this death, there will be a resurrection. Then there will be a second death in a lake of fire, and there won't be any resurrection at all from that death. And those in that, the Bible says will be ashes under the soles of our feet, of those of us who go on into immortal life.
   They will be as though they had not been. And it says it will be a fire that will burn them up, not keep burning, and burning, and burning. If you can show me anything that will keep burning forever and never burn out, I'll pay you a million dollars for it, because I can make several million out of that, if I can find some kind of combustion that'll keep burning, burning, burning a fuel that you don't have to keep heaping more fuel on, more oil, more wood, more coal, more something.
   "But as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive," everyone who dies, suicides, everybody. "But every man in his own order," there'll be an order of resurrection, not everybody in the same resurrection. "Christ, the firstfruits," and that was over 1900 years ago now, and then afterward, "they that are Christ's at his coming, and then will come the end, when he," Christ, "shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign till he has put all enemies under his feet."
   And that's speaking of the resurrection. Now let's come a little farther in this chapter, verse 35 (I Corinthians 15:35): "But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?" Now listen to this. You wonder, what kind of body are you going to have in the resurrection? Now I can tell you, that other scriptures say that you'll look just like you do now. You'll have the same fingerprints, and all in all as you have in your mind, you'll have and remember, and whatever personality you have will be there, and whatever you have done in the way of building character, either good or bad, it'll be there. It all will be there.
   But now listen to this: "Some will say, How are the dead raised up? With what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest," that which you sow or plant in the ground, in other words a burial in the ground, "is not quickened," or brought back to life, "except it die. And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not the body that shall be, but bare grain, it may be of wheat." But what comes up is not the same grain of wheat. It's another grain that looks just like that grain of wheat, do you see? And he uses that comparison here.
   "But God gives it a body as it has pleased him, and to every seed his own body." Now you'll have to know something about the spirit in man, if you want to know what is going to preserve and bring you back, because that is the mold, like a sculptor's mold, and God puts another body in it, and it comes back with your same fingerprint, your same memory, your same knowledge, your same character, everything.
   You commit suicide, it's just bang-bang. The next bang, you're still alive again. And now, you're in the judgment, being held accountable. So I just advise you, don't do it that way. That's not the way out. Now, beginning with verse 45 (I Corinthians 15:45): "And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul." Now it doesn't say an immortal soul, a living soul. And of all souls, it's appointed to all men once to die. "The first man made a living soul, the last Adam," which is Christ, "was made a quickening spirit," that is, a life-giving spirit.
   "However, that which was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural." Adam was natural, Christ came afterward, and he is spiritual. "And afterward, that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy." Now get this, in comparison to what I read you about Nicodemus. "The second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy." Jesus said that which is born of the flesh is flesh! That which is born of the spirit is spirit.
   "As is the earthy, such are they that are earthy. And as the heavenly, such are they that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy," and we are born of the flesh, we are flesh, "we shall also bear the image of the heavenly, and we shall be," if we have God's Holy Spirit, so he says, "we have borne the image of the earthy, we," in the church, "shall also bear the image of the heavenly."

Flesh And Blood Cannot Inherit The Kingdom

   "Now this I say, brethren..." You see, he says "brethren," he's speaking to those in the church. "That flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." Then flesh and blood has not been born again. Now the kingdom of God is something you can see. The kingdom of God is something you can enter into. The kingdom of God is something you can inherit.
   And Paul writes here that flesh and blood, while you're still made of flesh and blood and a heart beating, and you can feel your pulse (it's pretty hard to feel your own personal pulse), but as long as you can, you can't enter into or inherit the kingdom of God. "Neither does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a mystery, we will not all sleep," or that is, not all remain dead, "but we" in the church "shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound..."
   You'll read of the trumpet plagues back in the book of Revelation. "And the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, this mortal must put on immortality." See, we're not immortal now. We put on immortality. We are mortal souls, not immortal souls. "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."
   Then he concludes by saying, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law, but thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." And I think that's a good place to close right there.
   Let me say that here I have once again this booklet What Do You Mean... Born Again? I've spoken somewhat on that today, and I think you'd like to see it in print, and also the booklet on Just What Do You Mean... The Kingdom of God? That was the gospel that Jesus preached, the kingdom of God. Let me tell you, the kingdom of God is the family of God into which we can be born. So now, remember these things that we have offered, no charge whatsoever. We just do not put a charge on things like that. And I'm glad to send it to you. So until next time, this is Herbert W. Armstrong saying, goodbye friends.

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Telecast Date: November 9, 1978
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