by Arnold Kennedy
The popular understanding is that a person is born of the spirit when a person is “born again“. This is supposed to be by belief and it is supposed to be able to happen to any person of any race. To challenge this would not be welcomed by the religious world, but this challenge is being made. Let us first consider some scriptural things that we do know:
(1) Romans 9:11 is about offspring being elected by God, before having done good or evil. So we know then that election is NOT a matter of belief.
(2) In Romans 9:21-22, the Potter makes vessels that are [a] “fitted for destruction“, [b] “afore prepared for glory“
(3) God says that He had a purpose. We know they had not done good or evil when the Potter made them. So it is NOT a matter of belief.
(4) Addressing the Edomite leaders in the Judean nation in John 8:43, we read, “Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word”. The Messiah is saying that those “from above” (Israelites) have the hearing facility whereas those “from below” (non-Israelites) are never able to hear with understanding. Israelites are thus separated from all other peoples. There are six references to the Messiah saying, “Let him that hath ears, let him hear“, so there must be those who do not “have ears”. Those who “have ears” have a responsibility to listen.
(5) In Matthew 13, Wheat is sown as seed by God and Tares are sown as seed by the “enemy”. Each were sown one way and according to God’s Law each reproduces “after his kind“. They grow together and are separated unchanged at the harvest time. We know that one CANNOT turn into the other by belief.
(6) Consider that in Jude 19 and Romans 8:15, there are religious persons in the assemblies, “not having the Spirit”, and that there are those whose spirit can witness with God’s spirit that they are children of God. So we know that there is a DIFFERENCE in “spirit” between peoples in the assemblies.
(7) In John 17:9, the Messiah prayed about “as many as Thou hast given Me” and then he prayed for those who would believe amongst those to whom the twelve were sent. The twelve were sent, “to the lost sheep of the House of Israel” (Matthew10:6), the same ones to whom the Messiah says that he was sent to, that is, “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the House of Israel” (Matthew15:24). We know, then, that the Messiah was NOT sent to others.
(8) Paul tells us in Acts 13:48, “As many as were ordained to eternal life”, so we know there were those who were NOT so ordained”.
These eight scriptures demonstrate that there are differences between “men” and “men” that are not on a belief basis. To try to lump all men together by a “born again’” doctrine cannot be valid. If ever there was a need to put aside pre-conceived ideas and teachings, there is great need to do so in the present use of the expression “born again“. There is a common conception and presentation throughout the Christian world that is an absolutely false and misleading error. The basis of the expression is found in John chapter three:
John 3:3-5: “Jesus answered and said unto him, verily, verily, I say unto you except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. 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? 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. That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto you, ye must be born again.”
In most translations, the words “born again” have been carried on in a traditional manner, suggesting that a second “birth” is necessary to enter the Kingdom of God. Many Bibles, in their margins, will have “from above” showing this is what the original manuscripts have. When we look into the words actually spoken, we find that it was Nicodemus who made the suggestion about entering a second time into his mother’s womb. This was the interpretation that Nicodemus put on the Messiah’s words, but the Messiah did not say anything about a second time — even if the translations make him appear to say he did. THE MESSIAH DID NOT USE THE WORD “AGAIN” AT ALL HERE! There is no manuscript at all that says the Messiah used the word “again”. The word “deuteros” that Nicodemus spoke appears in the New Testament 44 times, and it means “twice, again”, etc, every time.
The Messiah did not use this word “deuteros“; the Messiah used the word “anothen“:
Strong’s G509: “anothen” Includes “from above”, or “from the first”.
Thayer: “anothen” Used of things that come from heaven [from God], or from a higher [upper] place, or from the very first, or from the origin”.
Knowing this word difference helps understanding and shows up the problems there are with the popular concept. The Messiah confirmed to Nicodemus that he was not speaking of a second birth when he told Nicodemus that he was referring to being born of water and of spirit. The Messiah did NOT use the future tense! The Messiah was speaking of something which existed at the time of speaking.
The Christian Church has picked up the words Nicodemus spoke, rather than the words that the Messiah said. The Messiah chided Nicodemus for not knowing “these things” (verse 10) as a Master in Israel. Likewise today, our teachers need chiding for the same reason of not knowing “these things“. The Messiah went on to say that not every person is begotten from physical birth “of the Spirit“, noting that that which is “of flesh” is of the flesh — each being born one way at physical birth.
In John chapter three the Messiah was talking with Nicodemus, a Master of Israel. In context, Israel is the “world” they were talking about. Consider, “For God so loved the world“; the word “for” connects with what is spoken of immediately above. This provides the context. To whom is the Messiah speaking with? This tells us which “kosmos” is under discussion. The whole subject matter concerns Israelites and a master in Israel, Nicodemus.
Verse 3. They have to be begotten “from above” (NOT “again” as translated) to be able to perceive (in their minds’ eye) the Kingdom. The Messiah used the word “anothen“; it was Nicodemus who used the word “deuteros” or “a second time” — NOT the Messiah.
Verses 5-7. Unless this spirit is inherited FROM CONCEPTION, none can enter the Kingdom (1 John 3:9). “Begotten” and “born” are mixed up by translators and are different in meaning!
Verse 8. We, (the ISRAELITES) have (ALL) received the spirit of God.
Verses 14-15. “Even as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up”.
To which race did Moses lift up that serpent? Which race was the ONLY one healed and cleansed from the serpent bites? The Messiah was “lifted up” to the same people, Israel, and the Messiah is saying that the “even as” applies just to those SAME people he died for. When we look through individual words within this verse, we have to admit that they do not mean what has been taught! “Again”
The word “anothen” that the Messiah uses appears 14 times in the New Testament and it does not have a meaning similar to “deuteros” = “second time” or “pallin” = “again” — the latter being the word most commonly translated as “again”. The adverb “anothen” ALWAYS relates to place and is used of past or former time, NEVER the future time. In order to discuss the word “anothen“, let us consider examples of how the word has been translated:
Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38: “the veil was rent from the top unto the bottom”.
Luke 1:3: “to write these things from the first“.
John 3:31: “he that cometh from above is above all”.
John 19:11: “except it were given you from above“.
John 19:23: “now the coat was without seam, woven from the top“.
Acts 26:5: “which we knew from the beginning“.
James 1:17: “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above“.
James 3:17: “but the wisdom which is from above“.
None of these indicate “again” in any sense. The sense is that of being from a certain starting point. “Born”
Begetting and birth are two vastly different events. Begetting as used of men is the action and process of conception, for example, “Abraham begat Isaac” (Matthew 1:2). Birth as used of a woman, it is movement from one environment to another, for example, “Mary of whom Jesus was born” (Matthew 1:16). The word “born” in John 3:3-5 is “gennao” — and should be translated as “begotten”.
The word “gennao” varies with the context and it may have an abstract meaning also where it is used of figurative father-child relationships (1 Corinthians 4:15). It is found 98 times in the New Testament. The sense usually has connection with procreation; the most prominent meaning being “beget” or “begotten“. We must thus now determine THE TIME when this begetting takes place.
Teachers en masse insist that people already born can be re-born in the future. But when used of a male, “begotten” is usually about the time of conception; when “born” is used of a female it is usually about physical birth.
Thayer’s Lexicon: “It is of mankind begetting children. It is often used metaphorically of bringing others over to one’s way of life”.
Vine’s Dictionary: “Chiefly used of men begetting children”.
If we want to understand its use in John 3:3-5 it is necessary to look at the Greek tenses and note they that are NOT in the future tense. Modern theology or teaching likes to use the words in the future tense (from tradition), but this is a TOTAL ERROR. We have been taught so wrongly to use the words, “except a man be born again” in the future tense that it is hard for many to think otherwise. But “be born” — even in English — is NOT future tense and it is NOT in the Greek. The Messiah taught exactly what is taught throughout the Old Testament, namely that God’s race are born from an original sowing, that is, from a certain starting point. “Born of Water and of Spirit”
This is not only an interesting subject; but John 3:5 (“Except a man be born of water and of the spirit“) is a KEY verse. Because of the “and” we see that the TWO requirements for perceiving the Kingdom of Heaven are “water” as well as “spirit“. What is believed here determines which gospel is being believed. We have the choice to believe that any man of any race can “see the kingdom of God“, or we can believe the limitation that the Messiah gives:
John 6:65: “No man can come unto me, except it be given unto him of my Father”.
The word for water is “hudor” and it is used of water of all sorts. On its own it means nothing but water! Some religious so-called experts argue that the expression refers to baptism, but this cannot be so because the thief on the tree went to paradise without being baptized. So we have to look further. When “begotten” is used of God conferring upon men the nature and disposition of His sons, we have to be sure what this relates to, whether it relates to men from all races or men from Israel only. That the former is commonly taken does not prove that it is right. We can be sure that the limiting “except it be given unto him of My Father” of John 6:65 is right.
A person is “born of water” as part of the NATURAL PROCESS following biological conception, but the Messiah added the words, “and of the Spirit“. This makes it clear that the ability to comprehend the Kingdom of God is included at the same time of conception. To determine what this is about we must, of necessity, go back to the Old Testament to see who and what was begotten of the spirit. We can anticipate that the Old Testament will agree with the New Testament. Whom Did God Beget?
Exodus 4:22: “Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my first-born.”
Statements like this immediately EXCLUDE all the other races, including those before Jacob. So, there is no need to go further back in the Bible. When God separated Abram and Sarai He regenerated their ability to conceive a child and commemorated the event by changing their names – adding the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet into their names. This number is connected with the spirit of God!
The life in Sarah’s womb was SPIRIT-ENDOWED. Now, consider these questions:
(1) If Israel was God’s first-born son, then who are their offspring?
(2) For Israel to be the son, then who is Israel’s father? Is it not God?
(3) Does not Israel originate from God if Israel is His son?
Nowhere in the Bible can we find any suggestion of the humanist brotherhood of all men. God is expressed as being the Father of Israel ONLY. He is the father of “all men ” OF ISRAEL, not “all men” of all races!
The Messiah taught his disciples (ALL Israelites only) to pray saying, “Our Father which art in heaven…” This is better translated “Our Father, the One in heaven“. Neither God nor man can be called a father until they have begotten offspring. There is NO suggestion of a spiritual birth later in life. God states that He is a Father in Exodus 4:22-23 and Jeremiah 31:9; therefore He begat offspring and is the father of all descendants from Israel. This is said directly of NO other race in the Bible! From this it can be said that Israelites are the children of God. (Greek teknon) FROM CONCEPTION. Children are the offspring of a “father” who begat them. James 1:18, addressing the twelve tribes, speaks of God: “Of His own will begat He us“. This context CANNOT be extended beyond the “Twelve Tribes”. Only those referred to as “us” have the “spirit” potential to become the sons of God (Greek huios).
It is clear from scripture that all races cannot hear, and all races “cannot receive the things of God”. The Messiah said unto his disciples, “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but unto them it is not given” (Matthew 13:11). The “them” in this case were the Edomite leaders of the Judean nation — most of whom were NOT Israelites (John 8:39). It is reasonable here to relate the genetic base of Abraham’s seed through Isaac to the “spirit” placed within this race; Abraham being the “father” of this physical race from his loins. This physical race had a “spirit” which could “witness with God’s Spirit that they were children of God”.
The apostle Peter declares that we (Israelites to whom he was writing) are “born again“, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible seed, by the Word of God. This is NOT the same “born again” of John 3:7 as explained earlier. It must be immediately pointed out that, in this verse, the incorruptible seed of God (the Father) is “sporas” rather than “sperma“. The meaning of this word “sporas” is “the sowing back in the past“, or “sown seed“.
Isaac was conceived in Sarah’s womb, after God had regenerated Sarah’s and Abraham’s ability to conceive a child. It is now an appropriate place to look at Sarah and Abraham, who are shown to be the place (or ORIGIN), being that originating rock or quarry and the pit, as is shown in the next heading below. Abraham and Sarah — The Origin
Isaiah 51:1-2: “Hearken unto Me, ye that follow after righteousness; ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah which bare you, for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.”
It is not necessary here to establish all the reasons as to why God needed to make a new start with Abraham and Sarah. We have to accept that He did call Abraham alone. From this beginning, God made PROMISES to Abraham that were to follow on to Abraham’s seed (“zera“). ONLY those born from this new beginning could comprehend the Kingdom of God. This beginning was from God because God had regenerated Abraham and Sarah — enabling them to bear one child. In this way Isaac was born because of God’s action.
Through misgenerative activity, pollution was introduced to the bloodstream of the sons of Adam, and we find that God sought to eliminate the products of such activity. Noah was “pure in his generations” (Genesis 6:9), and so he and his racially unmixed family were preserved. Later, the Children of Israel were to destroy the mixed breed of the Canaanites. These could not “receive the things of the Spirit of God“. They could not witness in their spirit and say, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16), as an ISRAELITE is able to do. This principle is a continuing theme in the Bible.
Through Abraham and Sarah, God was restoring the spiritual power for Abraham’s seed to “become the Sons of God” (John 1:12). God was making a new beginning with Abraham. None other than the seed of Abraham — through the son of promise, Isaac — has this opportunity or potential, as we are told, “In Isaac shalt thy seed be called” (Hebrews11:18). Abraham’s seven other sons did NOT have this potential because they were not “In Isaac”. The descendants of Isaac were begotten of the spirit from their conception. This is why those who believe among Isaac’s descendants are regarded as being anointed by the spirit (Galatians 3:16).
Paul is able to declare, “Now He which stablishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us is God who has also sealed us and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). In 1 Corinthians 2:7-16 Paul, confirming this, tells the “brethren” (kinsmen of the same womb of Sarah) that they have not received the spirit of the world, but the spirit of God (verse 12). He says that through this we might know (or comprehend) the things that are freely given to us, (the brethren), of God. He goes on to further declare that the “natural” man (those not born of Isaac’s line) CANNOT receive the things of the spirit of God. He agrees with the Messiah who says that anyone who is not begotten of the original sowing (in the womb of Sarah) cannot “see” the Kingdom of God.
The apostle John confirms all this:
1 John 2:27: “But the anointing which you have received abideth in you…”
1 John 3:9: “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, because his seed remaineth in him”.
1 John 5:18: “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not”.
There is this relationship between the “anointing”, the right “seed”, and being “born of God” (which should be translated as “begotten of God“). “From the Womb”
Isaiah 44:2: “Thus saith the LORD God that formed thee [that is, Israel] from the womb”. In what way would Israel be formed in the womb? Whose womb? The word “beten” means what we mean today by “the womb.” Men do not have a womb; Abraham did not have a womb, but Sarah did. In Isaiah 51:1-2 as quoted above — speaking of Sarah — we find the womb described as “the hole of the pit“. This metaphor is a term that extends to the mountain from which the Stone Kingdom is taken. This is God’s mine. James — who was writing to the twelve tribes — said, “OF HIS OWN WILL BEGAT HE US [Israelites] WITH THE WORD OF TRUTH” (James 1:18). “Begat“, as has been shown, is chiefly about CONCEPTION, not physical birth, and certainly NOT about some later re-birth! “Formed From the Womb”
Further to the verse quoted in the previous paragraph, we find another verse stating that Israel was “formed”:
Isaiah 43:1: “But now saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee O Israel. Fear not…”
This verse indicates a difference between “Israel” and “Jacob“. Here we have the one being “created“, and the other being “formed“. So there are differences associated with the use of these words in different contexts.
Isaiah 44:24: “Thus saith the LORD, Thy Redeemer, and He that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things…”
Here again, the LORD is speaking to Israel ONLY and we again have “the womb”. Nowhere in Scripture can we find reference to the LORD being the redeemer of any other people apart from those of Israel who are “formed from the womb“. In the New Testament we still find reference to the womb of Sarah. Therefore it is as important as ever in the New Testament, as well as in the Old Testament.
Romans 4:19: “And being not weak in faith he considered not his own body now dead….neither the deadness of Sarah’s womb….”
Contained in the first verse of this chapter, we see, “Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh“. The “father of us all” (that is, Israelites) of verse 16 is Abraham “after the flesh“. This still is NOT a spiritual rebirth. Remember that Paul was writing to the House of Israel to whom he was sent.
Nicodemus, as a master or teacher in Israel, should have known these things that the Messiah told him. Teachers today likewise do not know these things. The womb of Sarah and the offspring from that womb have been spiritualized away! The common New Testament word “brethren”, as has been shown, is “brothers from the womb“. What other womb would this be than the womb of Sarah? Isaac was not born of Abraham’s will. Isaac was begotten by God’s will when He regenerated Abraham and Sarah’s ability to have a child and to give that child an individually incorruptible spirit. Isaac was thus begotten “from above“, as are Isaac’s descendants from the time of their conception. In this portion of John chapter one we find the origin of those who can believe in the Messiah. Also we find where they did not (and do not) originate! The Messiah came only (alone) to those begotten from above by God. He is shown to be the Redeemer of ONLY his Kinsmen.
A person does not exercise his will in determining where and of what race he should be born. The will factor of the person being born does not function in normal physical conception and birth. God determined which seed a person is from. God knows who are begotten of the spirit from above. 2 Timothy 2:19 says: “God knows those that are His“. The word translated “born” — in all of the following Scriptures — is “gennao,” and is used in the genealogies and in all other places, as being begotten or CONCEIVED – it does NOT relate to some spiritual birth:
John 1:13: “Which were born [that is, begotten], not of blood”.
John 3:3: “Except a man be born again”… [that is, begotten from above].
John 3:5: “Except a man be born [that is, begotten] of water and of Spirit..”
John 3:8: “So is everyone who is born [that is, begotten] of the Spirit.”
John 18:37: “To this end was I born…” [that is, referring to the Messiah’s physical birth from Mary].
Matthew 2:1: “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem”… [that is, referring to his physical birth from Mary].
Spiritualize these references if we like, but we will be like Nicodemus — “not knowing these things“. Regeneration
In Scripture there is an expression that means “born again”. This is “paligenesia” or “palin” = again plus “genesis” = born. There are but two occurrences:
Matthew 19:28: “Verily I say unto you, that you who have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel….”
Titus 3:5: “…but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost….”
It is not appropriate to expand this new subject here, other than to again note the Tribes of Israel limitation. The Physical Descendants of Abraham
The sons and grandsons of Abraham are the issue of his loins, and in Scripture descent is carefully traced back through the male line to him. Scripture tells us nothing about genetic contributions to the line, but it indicates that there is something genetic in the line because when his immediate offspring took wives, they were to be of the SAME STOCK as Abraham. What we do know is that God placed the letter “H” into the names of Abram and Sarai — making these names Abraham and Sarah. This “number of the spirit” indicates the placement of a “spirit” endowment. This carries on within the offspring from Abraham to his physical descendants through Isaac — who took a wife from the SAME “family”. In the modern view of genetics there is no provision for “spirit”. Racial and heredity traits are claimed to be the product of genetic make-up through genetic “flow” coupled with environmental factors. In the Bible the issue involves spirit endowment and this is also an endowment from conception. This factor does not change with environment. The Words “Spiritual” and “Natural”
The idea commonly presented is that the Seed of Abraham — or Abraham’s children — is a spiritual rather than a genetic seed. This is a physical impossibility! We hear the expression used, “First the natural, then the spiritual” to attempt to say that Israel nationally was the “natural” and that the Church is the “spiritual” that came later. What the Bible says the words mean, may be different to what we mean. So let us look at “natural” and “spiritual” as they connect to our present subject.
The word, of course, has a connection with “nature” — which is most commonly a translation of “phusis“. This word is also translated as “natural“.
Strong’s G5449: “Growth [by germination or expansion that is, [by impl.] natural production [lineal descent]; by extens. a genus or sort, fig. native disposition, constitution or usage…[man] kind”.
Thayer: “The nature of things, the force, laws, order, of nature, as opposed to what is monstrous, abnormal, perverse. The operation of nature. Guided by their natural sense of what is right and proper. The sum of innate properties and powers by which one differs from others”.
However, when we come to the verses where the “natural” body and the “spiritual” body are comparative, we find the word “psuchikos” (Strong G5591).
Thayer: “This is having the nature and characteristics of animal life. The sensuous nature with its subjection to appetite and passion”.
1 Corinthians 15:44: “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body”.
1 Corinthians 15:46: “Howbeit, that was not first that was spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterwards that which is spiritual“.
The context of these verses has reference to the resurrection. This is when the change from the natural to the spiritual takes place in the body.
The word “spiritual” is “pneumatikos” (Strong’s 4152).
Thayer: “Relating to the human spirit, or rational soul, and the part of man which is akin to God, and serves as his instrument or organ. Belonging to a spirit, or being higher than man, but inferior to God. Belonging to the Divine Spirit. Produced by the sole power of God himself, without natural instrumentality or parent”.
It is used of this present age for many things other than of the body:
- [a] Romans 1:11: Spiritual gifts — see also 1 Corinthians 12:1 and 14:1.
- [b] Romans 7:14: The Law is spiritual.
- [c] Romans 15:27: Partakers of spiritual things.
- [d] 2 Corinthians 2:13: Comparing spiritual with spiritual.
- [e] 1 Corinthians 3:1: As unto spiritual.
- [f] 1 Corinthians 10:13: And did all eat the same spiritual meat.
- [g] Galatians 6:1: Ye which are spiritual.
- [h] Ephesians 1:13: Spiritual blessings.
- [i] Ephesians 5:19: Spiritual songs.
- [j] Ephesians 6:12: Spiritual wickedness.
- [k] Colossians 1:9: Spiritual understanding.
- [l] 1 Peter 2:5: Spiritual house.
- [m] Revelation 11:8: Spiritually called Sodom.
But the present bodies we have are never called “spiritual” in this present age. These bodies may be “anointed“, “filled” etc., but they do not become “spiritual” until they are raised from the dead as a spiritual body.
1 Corinthians 15:36: “Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die”.
Thus, the seed of Abraham is still a “natural” body. The common teaching today is that the “seed of Abraham” is now a spiritual seed comprising of “born again” believers of every race. This “born again” expression is as incorrect as when Nicodemus thought it! The Messiah never said “born again“; He said, “begotten from above” (Greek).
The words “spiritual”, “anointed” and “holy” do not mean the same things. We might ask ourselves the question, “Is there a holy seed from physical birth or conception“?
Israel — The Holy Seed
Ezra 9:2: “For they have taken their daughters for themselves, and for their sons, and so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands”.
Here we find the seed in question is “zera” and that they are “holy” = “set apart” = “qodesh“. This is another Scripture which clearly shows that all seeds are NOT the same. It also shows that the seeds of mankind are NOT to be mixed together!
Isaiah 6:13: “So the holy seed shall be the substance thereof”.
In context, this verse only concerns the remnant of Israel, but it still shows that God’s people are a holy seed [“zera“], thus being different from other seeds.
Israel — “An Holy People”
There are many Scriptures that present God’s chosen nation as being a “Holy People“. Here we find a slightly different form of the word for “holy” to that immediately above. The word for “people” is quite different from “seed”, but these Scriptures quickly give the same picture.
Deuteronomy 7:6: “For thou art a holy people unto the LORD thy God. The LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth”.
This verse shows the separation of a “special people” (Israel as being addressed) from all others. Deuteronomy 14:2 and Deuteronomy 26:19 are similar verses.
“Holy” here is “qadosh” (H6918) which is used of people (and God, God’s name and holy places), rather than of objects.
“People” (H5971) is “am” or “a people as a congregated unit, a tribe, to associate“. This is used to delineate “a people” as being separate from other people. It is used of Israel, and also of other races, to show racial separation.
Isaiah 62:12: “and they shall call them, the holy people“.
Daniel 12:7: “and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people.”
Israel — “A Separated People”
Then we come to a people who are “separated” from other races. That this carries on into the New Testament might not find favor with many teachers, but it is hard to avoid. The doctrine of separation, as taught, might have to be re-considered in this aspect!
Exodus 33:16: “For wherein shall it be known that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not that thou goeth with us? So shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth”.
Leviticus 20:24: “I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people”.
Nehemiah 9:2: “And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers….”
The word “badal” for separation here is shown by Strong’s H914 to denote an utter separation and a selection.
In the New Testament we have the word “aphoriso” (Strong’s 873) which means “to boundary off, to divide, separate, sever”.
Matthew 25:32: “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats”.
Israel — “A Peculiar People”
This also continues on into the New Testament, like it or not! The word in the Old Testament is “segullah” which signifies “an enclosure” or “peculiar treasure“. In the New Testament the noun is “peripoiesis” and the adjective is “periousios” — showing that there is a people which is an acquisition, or purchased possession.
Thayer: “That which is one’s own, belongs to one’s own possessions. A people selected by God from the other nations for His own possession”.
Exodus 19:5: “Ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me .”
Deuteronomy 14:2: “The LORD hath chosen you to be a peculiar treasure“.
Deuteronomy 26:18: “The LORD hath avouched thee…to be His peculiar people…high above all nations…that thou might be a holy people unto the LORD thy God”.
Psalm 135:4: “Hath chosen Jacob for Himself and Israel for His peculiar treasure“.
Titus 2:14: “To purify unto Himself a peculiar people“.
1 Peter 2:9: “But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an [singular] holy nation, a peculiar people“.
The race of Israel are spoken of as being a collective treasure and a singular people. A treasure is a depository or “a thing laid up“. It is also translated as “special“, “proper” and “jewels“. In the New Testament “peculiar treasure” is variously translated strangely as “obtain” salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:9), “obtaining” of the glory (2 Thessalonians 2:14), and “purchased possession” (Ephesians 1:14) or, as expressed in Hebrews by translators, as “the saving“:
Hebrews 10.39: “But we are not of them who draw back into perdition, but of them that believe unto the saving of the soul”.
In the book of Hebrews some might not like the pronouns, but there is a “we” and there is a “them”. But both of these refer to Israelites ONLY in this particular case. One “they” were those of the Old Covenant period who drew back, and who did not “follow after holiness” (or set-apartness), thus failing the grace of God (Hebrews 12:15-16). Most would not like to think that there is a birthright (a right from birth) racially that could be sold, but there is. Remember how Esau sold his birthright, and how he could not regain it again? But, for now, let us return to the “seed”. Esau did not “follow after holiness“. He breached racial set-apartness.
Israel — “The Anointed Seed”
This might well “get some people going“! For those who have been brought up to think that all seeds are the same this might be just too much; this might be the last straw. Let it be so! That there is “an Anointed Seed” as well as “a Holy Seed”, “an Holy People”, “a Separated People” and “a Peculiar People“, gives a lot of confirmation. It all compounds perfectly, does it not? Does it not show different aspects of God’s chosen Israel race? Our sovereign God gives us enough detail so that we can ignore Him no longer! To not believe Him is to “kick against the pricks.” The seed of Abraham to whom the covenants were made STILL EXISTS. The spiritual “body” comes after the resurrection, so the seed of Abraham does not yet have a spiritual body. We are still “waiting the redemption of the body“, whether individual or corporate.
Romans 8:23: “Which have the first-fruits of the spirit….even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body”.
We have looked into “adoption” as a subject already. We are looking for placing as the Sons of God. But what about this particular and singular anointed seed? Is there such a thing in both Testaments?
“Anointed” in Hebrew is “mashiach“. (This is translated as Messiah in Daniel!!)
“To anoint” in Hebrew is “mashach“.
“Anointing” in Hebrew is “mishchah“.
They have UNIVERSAL APPLICATION to persons, people and things. There are also other words in Hebrew so translated, such as “suk” and “badal“.
Habakkuk 3:13: “Thou wenteth forth for the salvation of Thy people, even for the salvation of Thine anointed“.
This places “Thine anointed” and “Thy people” as being one and the same. This says that they were anointed before they were saved, or that they had this inborn potential or “earnest of the Spirit“!
Speaking of the Seed of Abraham (His servant) and the Children of Jacob (His chosen), and the covenant God made “to Israel“, we read in Psalm 105 the following:
Psalm 105:15: “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm”.
Revelation 11:15-16: “The Kingdoms of this world are become the Kingdoms of our LORD, and of His anointed…[christos]”….and He [God] shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders which sat before God on their seats fell upon their faces and worshipped God”.
Here we need, as usual, to go back and see what prophecy this is the fulfillment of. It is found in Daniel 7:13-18 and this concerns God and the Holy People. In this verse in Revelation above, the worship is directed to the LORD, but it is not directed to the “anointed”. If the Messiah was “His anointed” in this passage, then the Messiah was being ignored!
In the New Testament we find:
2 Corinthians 1:21: “Now he which stablished us with you in an anointed [chistos] [people], and hath anointed [christos] us is God, who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts…”
If we wanted to add weight to this argument, could we include a paragraph on the subject of a “Israel, a sealed people” as well? Who, Then, Are the People “Born of the Spirit”?
Three quotes from Jewish sources may personally help those who wonder who they are and have been led to believe that the word “Jews” always relates to Israelites.
(1) From Alfred M. Lilienthal’s book What Price Israel:
“Here’s a paradox: an anthropological fact, many Christians have more Hebrew-Israelite blood in their veins than their Jewish neighbours”.
(2) The Jewish author Yair Davidy in his book The Tribes — Israelite Origins of Western Peoples (foreword by Rabbi A. Field) tells in much detail that the Saxon folks are Israel.
(3) Jewish author Harry Golden wrote in 1967:
“Isaiah the prophet wrote that the remnant of Yahweh’s people would be found in the Islands of the sea “.
At first glance, the phrase in the islands of the sea, appears to be referring specifically to the British Isles. However, it should read the regions/coasts/habitable lands of The Sea –– which refers to the Mediterranean Sea, not the British Isles. The primary meaning of the Hebrew word is: “betake oneself to a place for dwelling; to turn aside; to turn aside to dwell, to lodge“. The noun, therefore, has the meaning of “habitable land, maritime land or sea shores” (whether of a continent or an island) and also, “an island”. Gesenius states it is used especially of the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea and cites verse Isaiah 11:11 as an example. The context of verse 11 is given by the preposition, “from” (the regions/coasts of The Sea). Brown, Driver and Briggs say it refers to Philistia and Phoenicia with the adjacent country, Crete, etc. Therefore, Isaiah’s words in verse 11 are referring to gathering of Israel from nations where they have been scattered and from the very seashores of the Mediterranean. Therefore Golden’s remarks have same application.
We know from history that Israel was scattered among the nations of the civilized world and we know they formed the basis of the maritime strength of Phoenicia, Greece and (to a lesser extent) Rome. We also know from history that they moved on from these places and settled in the British Isles. The Declaration of Arbroath by Scotland’s Robert the Bruce in 1320 is the clearest statement of such migrations:
- “…we know and from the chronicles and books of the ancients we find that among other famous nations our own, the Scots, has been graced with widespread renown. They journeyed from Greater Scythia by way of the Tyrrhenian Sea and he Pillar of Hercules, and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most savage tribes, but nowhere could they be subdued by any race, however barbarous. Thence, they came, twelve hundred years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, to their home in the west where they still live today. The Britons they first drove out, the Picts they utterly destroyed, and, even though very often assailed by the Norwegians, the Danes and the English, they took possession of that home with many victories and untold efforts; and, as their historians of old time bear witness, they have held it free of all bondage ever since. In their kingdom there have reigned one hundred and thirteen kings of their own royal stock, the line unbroken by a single foreigner.”
Such are the people “born of the spirit”.