Israel, born of water and Spirit...to enter the Kingdom of Heaven
Israel, born of water and Spirit...to enter the Kingdom of Heaven
I once attended a service put on by a Christian group called, "Jews for Jesus". I asked them about the infamous Saint John chapter 3 passage, being born of water and Spirit and they enlightened me. Also I had the wonderful priviledge to be tutored by Dr. Hubert Lindsey who was likewise a learned man from the Jewish perspective. Brother Lindsey was tutored by a Jewish Rabbi who taught in a Hebrew Theological School in whom later he won to Christ with the prophetic passage of Gen. 49:10.
Concerning John chapter 3, I'd like to add the following discourse to further enhance our study on the Kingdom Message taught from the four Gospels. As we have found in earlier studies Christ commanded the disciples to carry this message of the Kingdom of Heaven...to the Jew only. Christ actually forbid His disciples to preach this message to the Gentiles.
In Saint John's Gospel we have Jesus addressing Nicodemus who was an Elder in the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin consisted of the rulers of Israel who handled the religious affairs, social affairs, economical affairs, and political affairs within the nation of Isreal.
John 3:3...Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
The Greek text says, "Except a man be born from above." Jesus is simply describing to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews that without an inner work of Spirit, man could not see the future Kingdom where Christ would reign, nor could he enter into it.
The new birth, which is an inner work from the Spirit of God, makes man eligible for the future Kingdom of Heaven. To be born again gives man a holy heart and a new life because it's a birth from above.
John 3:5...Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
*Promises from the Torah and the Law of Moses, continuously brought the nation of Israel to memory of the parting of the waters of the Red Sea where God took the Hebrew nation into the promised land of Canaan. Deliverance from above was always brought to the nation of Israel's attention through practicing the Law of Moses and hearing the Prophets and Psalms taught in the synagogues.
Many people today take the above passage in John 3:5...to be born of water, and apply it to water baptism. To be born in the Greek text actually means, to be delivered* and simply applies to the Hebrew nation's deliverance from Pharaoh in Egypt, through the Red Sea into the land of Canaan. This was the greatest of God's miracles at that time, upon the Hebrew nation.
*Even the Passover offered deliverance to Israel, from the destroyer.
Ex 12:21-24...Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever,
In John 3:5...Except a man be born of the water, and the Spirit. The Spirit dealt with promises of the Holy Spirit poured out on Israel and pointed to a future restoration on the earth; a rest, greater than the land of Canaan. Perhaps Nicodemus was familiar with this part of deliverance by the Spirit* however, Jesus questioned him about it.
John 3:10...Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
*Deliverance by the Spirit is twofold: 1. It's deliverance from sin in the new birth through the inner work of the Spirit. 2. The outer work of the Spirit when the earth is purged and restored physically where in the future Christ rules on the Throne of David visibly in the Millennial Kingdom.
**Remember, God had provided deliverance to Israel and promised to restore a Kingdom. He also promised to pour out His Holy Spirit! The invisible work of the Holy Spirit through a new birth offered any believing Jew entrance into Christ's visible Kingdom on earth at that time, had the Kingdom message been accepted. Unfortunately, the majority rejected His Messiahship and God's visible Kingdom on earth was postponed.
A little bonus concerning...THE SANHEDRIN of which Nicodemus was a member of.
The rise of this great council of the Hebrews took place in the time of Greek supremacy, though there has been some attempt to trace its origins to the council of seventy elders named by Moses. The first mention of the Sanhedrin is in the time of Antiochus the Great (223-187 B.C.) It was evidently an aristocratic body, with the high priest acting as president. When the Roman order was introduced by Pompey, the high priest still retained the position of governor of the nation, making it likely that the Sanhedrin was carrying on.
Herod the Great began his reign by ordering the whole of the Sanhedrin to be put to death, appointing his own council of elders in their place. Under the Roman pro-curators, the internal government of the country was in the hands of the Sanhedrin to a much greater extent. And in the time of Christ and the apostles, the Sanhedrin is frequently mentioned as being the supreme Jewish court of justice. The Sanhedrin was abolished after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
THE ORGANIZATION OF THE SANHEDRIN
The Sanhedrin was composed of 71 priests who served for life and who were selected from the following:
€ The acting high priest presided over the council; all former high priests were members.
€ Male members of the high priestly families
€ Scribes, legal assessors, bureaucrats
€ Pharisees and Sadducees
€ Elders - tribal and family heads
Criminal judges were members of the Sanhedrin, and twenty-three of them sat in judgment, with two clerks to record votes for acquittal and conviction. In capital cases, argument for acquittal was heard first, then those in favor of conviction. Anyone who had spoken in favor of the accused could not then speak against him; but one who had spoken against the accused could change his testimony in his favor. Sentence for acquittal could be pronounced immediately; but sentence for conviction was reserved for the next day.
In voting, each member stood, beginning with the youngest. A simple majority was sufficient for acquittal; but a majority of at least two votes was required for conviction. More members of the Sanhedrin would be brought in two at a time to vote whenever there was a majority of only one for conviction. When all 71 had voted, the person was acquitted if there was still a majority of only one.
Jesus appeared before the Sanhedrin on a charge of blasphemy (Matt. 26:65; John 19:7). Peter and John were charged with being false prophets and deceivers of the people (Acts 4 and 5), Stephen with being a blasphemer (Acts 6:13 ff), and Paul with being guilty of transgressing the Mosaic law (Acts 23).