Frequently Asked Questions
What is the New Birth? - Part 3
Y'shua's response to the remarks of Nicodemus is cut and dry in my opinion. He is in effect saying that Nicodemus cannot understand or comprehend the kingdom of the Father unless he has the seed of the Father in him. All of the fruit of the seed is in the seed. This seed is defined throughout all scripture from it's seminal beginning in B'reshiyt 1:1 as the Word of God, which is revealed in the parable of the sower in Mattityahu 13:1-23, and clearly presented to us in the Lukan version of this parable.
"Now the parable is this: The SEED is the Word of God"
All those who wrote, expressed, and testified of the words of God from the beginning are a testimony of the history of this seed. The seed of the woman has followed and preceeded faith from the beginning, and so it is quite contextual for Y'shua to use the ancient pattern of this seed to explain the fundamental truth of reconciliation back to God. The 'birth from above' can only be thoroughly understood in its context with this seed. This seed is not only an agrarian concept, but also a biological one as well. The English word 'seed' is taken from the Latin word 'semen'. Enough said. When a woman conceives a child it is said that she has received seed. Y'shua uses this illustration in describing the fulfillment of Hoshea chapter one, which is in Yochanan chapter one.
"Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God."
"He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 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: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
Obviously there is a direct connection between the SONS of God and a birth. What Y'shua will teach us here is that the birth He is referring to is not an earthly birth but rather a birth from above that begins with a seed, as all births do. This seed from above is the Word of God that Yochanan clearly established in the first 14 verses of his gospel is from the very beginning. It is this birth that produces the fruit that God is looking for. The fruit of obedience has inside of it a seed. When HIS fruit is produced, then HIS seed is received, for it is always in the fruit. Galatians 3:16 clearly reveals that there is only one seed, the Messiah, and Messiah, according to Yochanan's first chapter, is from the beginning, from everlasting. If there is only one true seed, from the beginning, then only the fruit THAT seed produces can have another true seed in it. If two kinds of fruit are being produced, then there are two seeds. The 'birth from above' can only be the eternal Word of God, and so it can only produce the eternal Word of God.
Many in the Jewish sects at that time had strayed from the eternal Word of God, and however well motivated, had added to and taken away from His Word. They had mutated the seed, which could only reproduce a continued line of mutated seeds. The Messiah, the eternal, living Word of God, who kept the words (seed) of His Father, warned those who intended to be His disciples. " ... take up your cross and follow me" His exhortation is clear, there is only one seed, and you must receive this seed in order to understand, much less teach the kingdom of God. Y'shua was careful to extend the invitation to follow Him, the true seed, which produces the only fruit that will contain the same seed that produced all things.
The model for this new birth is found in the beginning, in the garden, where most paradigms of life and death find their start. The pattern of the seed of birth and life was already established in the narration of the bringing forth of vegetation and plant life in B'reshiyth 1:11-12. The relationship between man and the land was given to us in the first three chapters of B'reshiyth. The plan of God for man and creation are the same. YHVH expressed in His creation the same realities He would express through man. The principle of the characteristics of the seed of vegetation and plant life will also apply to man. Over and over again, through out generation after generation, God will teach the same patterns. After showing the pattern of the seed on the third day, God repeats the pattern once again by placing the concepts of light and darkness in two seeds that will produce two trees in the garden. These seeds and trees both operate identically. The seed of the tree of life will produce fruit that will contain a seed within itself that will only produce life. The seed of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil will operate precisely the same way. Adam is told that he may eat of all of the trees of the garden, including the tree of life. He was not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Chavah are in the garden, the place of eternal life and paradise, the source of God's goodness, blessings, and eternal bliss. If Adam and Chavah had continued to remain faithful to God and eaten only of the trees that God had ordained for them, then they would have continued to bathe in goodness, blessings, and eternal bliss. This tree of life and it's fruit is still true today.
God told Adam and Chavah not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Why? Because that tree comes from a seed that only produces the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. It does not produce life or the fruit of life. In the day that they ate of that tree they would surely die. Death is separation from life. The day they chose to eat from that tree, God removed (separated, death) from them the seed of life, lest they should exist eternally in a garden manifesting both life and death. Now Adam had only one seed in him, the seed of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now Adam could only produce after himself children without the life of God in them. Man will now only produce man. Man, because he produces both good and evil, cannot please God. Man can now only be born to man and only produce man. Mysteriously, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is never heard of again. Why? Because it was produced from a seed which is now in mankind. It will reproduce naturally, hence the term adamic nature. The birth of the flesh is a naturally occurring act of man. This is an inherent process that man can accomplish without the help of God, but yet it is the beginning step in a two step progression to bring about the will of God.
1 Corinthians 15:46
"Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual."
Y'shua will allude to this statement in His conversation with Nicodemus. In keeping with the 'natural' progression of things, Nicodemus responds to Y'shua by going right for the natural, and failing to see the spiritual (eternal).
"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?"
Y'shua's remark back to Nicodemus verifies that He understood Nicodemus's stubborness at worst and confusion at best. Y'shua replies by saying that a man must be born of water AND of the Spirit to enter into the kingdom of God. The birth of water is what man reproduces naturally, without God. This water speaks of natural birth, that which comes from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the seed of man. In the very next chapter of Yochanan, Y'shua uses this same physical or natural image when speaking to the woman of Samaria. She is standing at a well and drawing water. Y'shua then compares natural water to living water. The 'birth of water' refers to the physical birth, the birth of the flesh. This is sealed in the next verse when Y'shua, completing His thought states, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." This places Yochanan's statements in the first chapter of this gospel in perfect harmony.
"Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
All that man born of blood, flesh, or his own will can produce, is a man born of blood, flesh, and his own will. The only seed that can produce the offspring of God, is the seed of God. However, that which comes natural is first, then that which is spiritual. Next time we will continue with Y'shua's statements to Nicodemus about being born from above.