THE INCREDIBLE HUMAN POTENTIAL
by Herbert W. Armstrong
This is the eye-opening story of the real gospel message of Jesus
Christ -- of how this missing dimension was withheld, and the whole
It's positively astounding! It has remained undiscovered by
science! No religion has revealed it! Higher education has never
taught it! Is it possible the whole world has been
deceived -- regarding the awesome purpose of human life -- about the
WAY to world peace and how it will come? And could it be true
that the real gospel message Christ brought from heaven revealed
this missing dimension -- but was suppressed? This is the
eye -- opening story of the real gospel message of Jesus Christ -- of
how this missing dimension was withheld, and the whole world
Table of Contents
..... CHRIST'S GOSPEL WAS
SUPPRESSED -- NOT HEARD FROM THE FIRST CENTURY UNTIL NOW
..... THE STARTLING
REVELATION OF WHAT WAS CHRIST'S GOSPEL
..... THE INCREDIBLE HUMAN
POTENTIAL AT LAST REVEALED
..... PRE-EXISTENCE BEFORE
THE MATERIAL UNIVERSE
..... WHAT LED TO THE
..... HOW GOD PLANNED TO
..... BRIDGING THE GAP
BETWEEN HUMAN MAN AND THE ULTIMATE SPIRIT -- COMPOSED SONS OF GOD
..... WHY TODAY'S WORLD
..... WHY THE CHURCH?
..... JUST WHAT DO YOU MEAN
..... HUMAN NATURE -- AND
HOW A WHOLE WORLD IS DECEIVED ABOUT ITS ORIGIN
..... IS THERE LIFE AFTER
..... WORLD PEACE -- HOW IT
Is There Life After Death?
Why this mystery about life after death? WHY so many beliefs of
so many different religions? How can we KNOW? Can we believe God?
Adam and Eve didn't. Few believed Christ -- that is, few believed
what He SAID! Could we believe God -- if He told us?
I said to my wife more than fifty years ago, "I know the
Bible says, 'Thou shalt keep Sunday.' " "How do you know?" she
asked. "Did you read it?"
"No, but I know it's there, because all these Christian
churches get their religion from the Bible, and they all keep
"Why don't you look it up and show it to me?" she
But I couldn't find it.
I chanced to read in Romans 6:23: "The wages of sin is DEATH
school they taught me the wages we earn for sinning is IMMORTAL
LIFE, not death -- eternal life in hell fire." Then I read the
remainder of the verse "... but the GIFT of God is eternal
"That's a shocker!" I expressed, further surprised. "I
thought I already had eternal life. I'm an IMMORTAL SOUL."
I had left church and Sunday school when I was eighteen. But
I had been brought up in an established and respectable Christian
denomination. I became intrigued. I had heard the preacher say,
"The Bible says, when we all get to HEAVEN...." I chanced to
read where Jesus said, "No man hath ascended up to heaven." And
after reading a few more plain biblical statements, I began to
believe that even the churches TODAY do not believe what Jesus
Yes, more than fifty years ago my mind was swept clean of
all previous teaching, suppositions and ideas about things
relating to God. I had then proved the infallible inspiration of
the Bible in its original writing.
I was right to believe what God says in His Word.
What does the Bible say about life after death? Did anyone
ever die and then actually experience a life after death -- and who
could PROVE IT and explain to us what that life was like?
The answer is YES. Jesus Christ Himself died and was DEAD.
But He rose from the dead and was seen by MANY -- including His
disciples, who had been with Him for three and a half years
before He died, and forty days after His resurrection. And they
went about loudly proclaiming that they were eyewitnesses of His
LIFE AFTER DEATH.
In I Cor. 15:22-23, you will read: "For as in Adam all die,
even so in Christ shall all be made alive [after death]. But
every man in his own order...."
The fifteenth chapter of I Corinthians is the "resurrection
chapter" of the Bible. Its subject is the resurrection to LIFE,
after death! But there is, in God's Master Plan an order -- or
succession -- of resurrections.
Continue: "Christ the firstfruits" -- this occurred more than
1900 years ago -- "afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming.
Then cometh the end ..." (verses 23-24).
Later in this chapter a great deal will be said about the
resurrection of those "that are Christ's" -- Spirit-begotten
Christians. But what of the others?
The same ALL who die in Adam, it says, "in Christ shall . .
says, "... they that are Christ's [shall be resurrected] at his
[second] coming" -- now imminent -- in our present generation. "Then
cometh the end" (verse 24) -- but the details of the resurrection
of others -- the overwhelming majority of all who ever lived -- are
In Rev. 20 we find described two more resurrections.
First, verse 4, the saints who are Christ's are to live and
reign on the earth with Christ for one thousand years. Satan will
be put away (verses 1-2) but the rest of those who have died will
not live again until after that thousand years (verse 5). Then,
beginning verse 11:
"And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it,
from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was
found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great,
stand before God" (the second resurrection); "and the books were
opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life:
and the dead were judged ... according to their works."
This will be by far the GREATEST resurrection, in numbers
resurrected. It will include the BILLIONS who have lived CUT OFF
from God -- who were not then judged.
The Bible is essentially the Book concerning the nation
Israel. The resurrection of all of them, not previously called to
spiritual salvation, is recorded in Ezek. 37.
The prophet Ezekiel was taken in a vision and set down in a
valley filled with very dry bones. In verse 11 it is recorded
that God told him that these bones were the whole house of
Israel. They -- these dead skeletons -- were pictured saying, "Our
bones are dried and our hope is lost."
But the prophet was told to say to these dry skeletons,
"Thus saith the [Eternal] God, Behold, O my people, I will open
your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and
bring you into the land of Israel."
In the vision, before God explained to the prophet the
identity of the great valley of skeletons, the prophet was told
to say to the dry bones, "Thus saith the [Eternal] God ...
Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live.
And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you,
and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall
live" (verses 5-6). Now back to verse 13: "And ye shall know that
I am the Eternal, when I have opened your graves, O my people,
and brought you up out of your graves. And shall put my spirit in
you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land:
then shall ye know that I the Eternal have spoken it, and
performed it, saith the Eternal."
This prophecy is of a resurrection to mortal flesh-and-blood
life -- not a resurrection, like that of the saints at Christ's
Second Coming, to immortal Spirit-composed self-existent life.
God had never offered Old Testament Israel His Spirit, or
spiritual salvation. Only material and national promises -- and
even that for obedience which they refused to give.
But now, in this Great White Throne resurrection, along with
all other peoples who had been CUT OFF from God, these Israelites
(including those who were uncalled even after Christ came), would
be resurrected to mortal, breathing, flesh-and-blood life. They
all, hopefully, are then to come to really KNOW that the Eternal
is Lord, and He shall, upon their eventual conversion, put His
Holy Spirit within them. They, too -- along with all of every
nation, who had not been specially called prior to the
Millennium, shall live again physically in this resurrection. And
after a period of growth and overcoming, then shall come their
spiritual salvation -- with no Satan around to deceive them!
Now back to Revelation 20. Verses 13 to 15 indicate that
there will then be a last, final resurrection of the incorrigible
who have rejected the eternal salvation offered them. They, with
any such living at the end of the Millennium, will then die the
second death -- utter extinction -- in the lake of fire, described by
Peter as the face of the earth becoming a molten mass.
Malachi adds: "For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as
an oven, and the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be
stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the
[Eternal] of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor
branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of
righteousness arise with healing in his wings, and ye shall go
forth ... and ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be
ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do
this, saith the [Eternal] of hosts" (Mal. 4:1-3)."... and they
shall be as though they had not been" (Obad. 16).
But, what, in the meantime -- what between the second of one's
death and the resurrection? The Bible teaching, contrary to much
religious and church teaching -- that is the WORD OF GOD
teaching -- is that the dead ARE DEAD -- utterly unconscious.
Notice the inspired wisdom of Solomon: "For the living know
that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing ..." -- the
RSV translates it, "the dead KNOW NOTHING" (Eccl. 9:5).
Recently a Worldwide Church of God minister told me of
experiences he has had with three successive would-be suicides.
Each time he said to them, "Well, go right ahead -- but first you'd
better learn what happens at the moment you die. So far as your
consciousness goes, the next fraction of a second you will wake
up in the resurrection -- and if you commit this self-murder,
you'll still be facing all your problems, and the guilt of this
SELF-MURDER crime in addition. Why not solve the problems NOW,
before you commit this murder?" Not one of the three went on
through with his intended suicide!
So, there's nothing to gain by "ending it all," thinking
that is the easy way out. Death only brings instant awakening in
the resurrection. You will know absolutely NOTHING from the
second you die, till the second you awake in the resurrection.
These men, the minister explained, had supposed that suicide
would END IT ALL -- and they'd be out of their troubles, but when
they learned they would still have their troubles plus a MURDER
charge against them in THAT JUDGMENT, it no longer seemed that
suicide was the "quick way out of it all."
No, death is not a friend, but an ENEMY! Christ came to
DESTROY DEATH -- to make a happy, peaceful, abundant life possible
for all -- for each in his own due time. He came that we might have
LIFE, "and have it more abundantly."
There most certainly is life after death -- and Christ made
possible a transcendent human potential so great it seems
incredible. He came to DIE in our stead -- to pay the penalty we
have incurred for us, and to GIVE US LIFE!
Christ Himself taught that there is LIFE AFTER DEATH.
He taught the Pharisee, Nicodemus, but Nicodemus didn't
believe Him! Jesus said to him, "... I have told you earthly
things, and ye believe not" (John 3:12).
Why didn't the Pharisee, Nicodemus, understand when Jesus
said to him: "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the
kingdom of God"?
Why do people not understand those words today? How many
know, today, that Jesus' gospel was a sensational,
never-before-proclaimed NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT?
Jesus Was a Newscaster
Those in Judea knew -- or should have known -- Malachi's prophecy
concerning this. It was the gospel of God -- and the word "gospel"
means GOOD NEWS!
Jesus was a NEWSCASTER. His news was something absolutely
NEW -- never before proclaimed to mankind. It was the most
wonderful NEWS ever reported, actually almost too wonderful for
humans to believe. It was news of the utterly transcendent
potential of man.
The tremendous message that Jesus brought was not a report
of past events. It was ADVANCE news of an almost unbelievable
UTOPIAN WORLD TOMORROW! It was news of life after death. And it
was news that we may be BORN AGAIN! Yet almost nobody understands
Why has it never been recognized by the world as the
stupendous NEWS that it actually was?
Because first-century enemies of the gospel SUPPRESSED IT!
The Church of God, on the foundation of the original
apostles and Christ, was founded on the Day of Pentecost, A.D.
31. About two decades later, when the apostle Paul wrote his
letter to the churches of Galatia, it had already been sup
pressed, and false ministers had turned the people to a DIFFERENT
GOSPEL. Paul wrote, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from
him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and
would pervert the gospel of Christ" (Gal. 1:6-7). Again, in
Romans 1:18: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their
wickedness suppress the truth" (RSV). And in II Corinthians 11
Paul speaks of false apostles of Satan (verses 13-15) who come
preaching "another gospel" (verses 4, 13, 15).
The time was at hand, when Jesus preached, for this message
to be announced! The time is at hand, today, for its true MEANING
to be made so PLAIN that people may UNDERSTAND IT! (Matt. 24:14.)
It WILL BE, in this chapter. And it is a crucial CHALLENGE
to you who now read it! And you have to UNDERSTAND what was that
news announcement, or you can never UNDERSTAND what Jesus meant
about being "born again."
What Was the News?
Notice, briefly, first, what that astonishing NEWS message was!
The preannouncement, in Malachi's prophecy, says: "Behold, I will
send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and
the Lord, whom ye seek [the Messiah], shall suddenly come to his
temple, even the messenger of the covenant ..." (Mal. 3:1).
Now notice the beginning of the MESSENGER'S proclamation of
the MESSAGE. It is recorded in Mark's gospel, chapter 1: "The
beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is
written in the prophets ...." Then follows the citation from
Malachi, written above. That is followed by the account of John
the Baptist, preparing the way before the messenger.
Then, verses 14-15: "Now after that John was put in prison,
Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of
God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is
at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel" -- that is, BELIEVE the
What IS the Kingdom of God?
What did He mean -- the Kingdom of God? Jesus' whole message -- His
gospel -- was about the KINGDOM OF GOD! Yet few know anything about
A kingdom is (a) a NATION composed of people, and (b) the
GOVERNMENT of the nation. And a more complete eye-opening
explanation will follow in chapter 13.
In some cases, the people of a nation are the
descendants -- the children -- of one man. The nation of Turkey was
descended from ancient Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, whose
name was changed to Israel. He was the father of the nation
Israel. Before the twins were born, God said to their mother,
Rebekah, "Two nations are in thy womb ..." (Gen. 25:23).
Now Jesus the Messiah was to come as "the messenger of the
COVENANT." The "old covenant" had established the human children
of Israel as a NATION or KINGDOM of humans, called the KINGDOM OF
ISRAEL. Jesus came as the messenger -- heralding the message of the
NEW covenant that shall set up the Spirit-composed children of
GOD as the Kingdom of God!
As the ancient kingdom of Israel was composed of the human
FAMILY of the human man Israel, so the Kingdom of God will be
composed of the Divine Family of the Divine God!
And what does this have to do with life after death? It has
everything to do with it!
WHY Jewish Rulers Rejected the Message
The Jewish rulers of Jesus' day thought He was proclaiming a
government to be set up immediately -- to overthrow the Roman
Empire, then ruling Judea as a vassal state.
One of these prominent Jews was a man named Nicodemus,
mentioned earlier. He was a Pharisee, and the Pharisees were
hostile to Jesus because of this new gospel. Nicodemus, however,
wanted to meet this astonishing messenger and discuss it with
him. To avoid criticism from his colleagues, he came to Jesus by
"We know," he said, "that you are a teacher come from God."
The "we" implies that the divine identity of the messenger
and the source of His message was known to the Pharisees. But
they were "NOW" people, concerned with protecting their status as
rulers under the Roman government, not with receiving revelations
Jesus perceived the import of Nicodemus's first words. His
message was the good news of the coming WORLD GOVERNMENT of
GOD -- that is, the KINGDOM OF GOD, which shall rule all nations
with the GOVERNMENT of God.
These Jewish rulers feared that message. Jesus was of their
race -- a Jew. If they did not oppose Him, they feared being shorn
of their power and perhaps put to death as subversives
threatening the overthrow of the Roman govern ment. And the
Pharisees thought Jesus proclaimed the immediate takeover of that
Not of This Age
Therefore Jesus did not waste words. He struck straight through
to the crux point -- the Kingdom of God is not of this world -- this
time, this age -- but of the WORLD TOMORROW -- a different and a
following AGE. Not composed of humans, but of immortals -- the GOD
So Jesus said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see
the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).
Notice carefully that being "born again" has a vital
connection with the Kingdom of God -- with THE FACT that it is not
of this time -- this age.
But Jesus' abrupt opening statement left Nicodemus confused.
The religious leaders and the hundreds of denominations and sects
professing Christianity today are confused and deceived! Today's
religionists put a different twist on it than did Nicodemus,
Nicodemus did understand clearly what is meant by being
born. He knew it meant being delivered from his mother's womb. It
meant being delivered into the WORLD! Today's religious leaders
read into it a different meaning! What Nicodemus could not
understand was how -- in what manner -- anyone could be born AGAIN!
And of course, being carnal-minded, he could only conceive of a
second physical birth. But he knew what being born meant!
Born Human a Second Time?
Puzzled, he asked, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he
enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" He
was not confused about what is meant by being BORN. What
Nicodemus could not understand was a second birth. He thought
Jesus was talking about a second human birth.
He was unable to conceive of any but a second physical
birth. His mind could not grasp spiritual things.
Now Jesus had made clear that the Kingdom of God is
something that can be seen -- but not until or UNLESS one is "born
again." Not during his physical lifetime! Also, verse 5, the
Kingdom of God is something a man may enter into -- but not until
after he is born AGAIN -- another and entirely different birth.
Here is the crux point that explains it all: Jesus said,
"That which is born of the flesh IS flesh: and that which is born
of the Spirit IS spirit."
Man is now flesh -- human. He is MATERIAL SUBSTANCE. "Dust
thou art," said God to Adam, "and unto dust shalt thou return."
Again, "And the Eternal God formed man of the dust of the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became
a living soul" (Gen. 3:19; 2:7).
Those Born Again to BE Spirit
But, said Jesus plainly, when one is born of the Spirit HE WILL
BE SPIRIT! Look at it! Read it in your own Bible.
The Kingdom of God will be composed of SPIRIT BEINGS -- not of
At birth of human flesh, one is delivered from his mother's
womb into this world. When born of the Spirit, one will be
delivered from the CHURCH of God (physical) -- the mother of
begotten Christians -- into the KINGDOM of God (a Kingdom of SPIRIT
Man is now COMPOSED of flesh -- material substance -- matter.
When BORN AGAIN he will BE Spirit -- a SPIRIT BEING, no longer
human. He will be COMPOSED of Spirit-of Spirit composition -- with
life inherent -- with self-containing life -- not then existing by
the breath of air and the circulation of blood.
Of the next age when the Kingdom of God will rule the
world -- the life after death -- the next LIFE -- Jesus said, "They
neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels
of God ..." (Matt. 22:30). Marriage is a physical, fleshly
union. In the age of God's Kingdom, when "born again" we shall BE
Spirit, not flesh. Born of God as SPIRIT BEINGS, no longer human.
Angels are spirits -- composed of Spirit (Heb. 1:7). Jesus did not
say we shall then be angels -- but AS the angels -- sexless and
composed of SPIRIT. Angels are Spirit beings -- created as
such -- but not begotten and BORN of God as God's own born
children. We therefore shall be greater than angels!
Jesus explained this further to Nicodemus: "The wind bloweth
were it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst
not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone
that is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8).
You cannot see wind. Wind is compared to Spirit. It is
INVISIBLE. That's why mortal FLESH, as we now are, cannot SEE the
Kingdom of God. Those who inherit it will be Spirit -- normally
invisible to eyes still human.
Not While Flesh and Blood
The apostle Paul made clear that the Kingdom of God is something
a human may INHERIT, but not in THIS AGE -- not while he is
composed of material flesh.
"The first man is of the earth, earthy [human]: the second
man is the Lord from heaven [a divine God being]" (I Cor. 15:47).
This is what Jesus was saying to Nicodemus. He was of the
earth, earthy -- human. He was flesh, not Spirit. He Was born of
the flesh, so that's what he was -- FLESH. When one is born of the
Spirit, he will BE Spirit. Paul is here explaining the same
But we cannot BE Spirit in this present age.
THERE IS A TIME ELEMENT CONCERNED WITH BEING BORN AGAIN INTO
Continue, now, in I Corinthians 15:49: "And as we have borne
the image of the earthy, we shall [future -- resurrection] also
bear the image of the heavenly" (verse 49). As we are now flesh,
we shall be SPIRIT -- at the resurrection, that is, when we shall
be "BORN AGAIN" -- when we shall see, enter into, the Kingdom of
God -- when we are Spirit -- at the resurrection!
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot
inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit
incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all
sleep [be dead], but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the
twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall
sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we [the
then living] shall be changed" (verses 50-52). There is the TIME
when we may be born again -- when we may see, enter into, and
inherit the Kingdom -- when "BORN AGAIN," and NOT BEFORE!
How shall we be changed? The next words answer! "For this
corruptible [flesh, as we now are] must put on incorruption
[Spirit -- that which is born of God is Spirit], and this mortal
must put on immortality" -- be changed from material flesh to
Until born again, we cannot see the Kingdom of God -- Jesus to
Nicodemus, John 3:3.
Until born again, we cannot enter into the Kingdom of
God -- Jesus to Nicodemus, John 3:5.
Until no longer flesh, but changed into SPIRIT, we cannot
enter into the Kingdom of God -- Jesus to Nicodemus, John 3:6-8.
While still flesh and blood (as Nicodemus was and we are) we
cannot inherit the Kingdom of God -- Paul to the Corinthians, I
Until the resurrection, at Christ's coming, we shall not be
changed from corruptible flesh into incorruptible SPIRIT -- Paul, I
Cor. 15:50-53 and verses 22-23.
Until the resurrection, therefore, we cannot see, enter
into, or inherit the Kingdom of God. We CANNOT BE BORN AGAIN
UNTIL THE RESURRECTION!
Now Heirs -- Not Yet Inheritors
While in our present status, born of the flesh and composed of
flesh, we cannot see, enter into, or inherit the Kingdom of God.
Notice, now, the status of the truly converted Christian, in this
life -- this world:
"Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of
his" (Rom. 8:9). Unless one has received the Holy Spirit, and
this Spirit is dwelling in him, he is not a Christian. Joining a
church does not make one a Christian. Receiving and following
God's Spirit does!
Spiritual Birth Process Compares to Physical
But now see how God's Spirit entering and dwelling in one
compares to the physical sperm impregnating the ovum -- the
imparting of eternal SPIRIT life, later to produce a SPIRIT
PERSON! A fertilized ovum -- an embryo -- is NOT a born human person.
Life from the father has been imparted to it. He has begotten it,
but neither embryo nor fetus is YET a born person. In the same
manner the Spirit-begotten human is not, yet, a SPIRIT PERSON or
BEING, as Jesus said he shall be when born again!
Continue: "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus
from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the
dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that
dwelleth in you" (verse 11).
UNDERSTAND THIS! There is a direct comparison between having
been born of the flesh and being born AGAIN of God. Jesus said
that which is born of the flesh is flesh -- a born human. That
which is born of the spirit (God) is Spirit -- a born SPIRIT
A mortal human life starts when a sperm cell from the body
of the father impregnates -- imparts physical LIFE to -- an ovum (egg
cell) in the mother. At this point the father begets, sires. He
does not "bring forth." The mother does that, later. His part in
the PROCESS leading to final birth is then done. BUT THERE IS A
TIME ELEMENT. At the TIME of begettal, birth (parturition) has
not YET occurred.
It is necessary to give this explanation, at this point,
because the popular deception of a deceived traditional
''Christianity'' is to claim that when one ''receives Christ,''
"accepts Christ," "professes Christ," or first receives God's
Holy Spirit to dwell in him, he is already "BORN AGAIN."
First, then, notice the physical type and comparison.
The TIME Element
In human physical reproduction, there is a TIME ELEMENT. From
impregnation -- begettal on the part of the father -- having
conceived on the part of the mother -- to BIRTH, or parturition, or
being delivered from the mother's womb is a TIME ELEMENT of nine
That nine-month period is called gestation. Upon conception,
the now fertilized ovum is called an embryo. A few months later,
it is called a fetus. But during this nine-month period of
gestation, we do not speak of the embryo-fetus as having been
born. It is in the PROCESS toward birth. It is the child of its
parents. But it is then the unborn child of its parents. The
father has already begotten it -- sired it. But the mother has not
yet given birth to it. Yet it is, during the gestation period,
the unborn child of its parents.
Now in being "born again," the PROCESS of this birth begins
when GOD'S Divine SPIRIT-LIFE is imparted to us by the Holy
Spirit, from His very PERSON, entering to dwell within us.
Repeat, from Romans 8: "But if the Spirit of him that raised up
Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from
the dead shall also quicken [change to immortal spirit] your
mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you" (verse 11).
This is describing the very same thing explained in I Corinthians
15:50-53, the resurrection.
I want to make this crystal clear. Millions of sincere
professing Christians believe that when they profess Christ (or
receive His Holy Spirit) they are "born again." What actually
happens is this:
When one, after repentance, faith, and baptism receives the
Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God puts him into -- baptizes him
into -- God's Church. The Church is called the body of Christ. So
we read: "By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body" (I
The Church Our Mother
Again, the Church is called "Jerusalem above" or "the heavenly
Jerusalem" (Heb. 12:22-23). Now notice, in Galatians 4:26: "But
Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all."
The analogy is this: When begotten by God the Father by
receiving His Holy Spirit, we are put into the Church, which
during this gestation period is our MOTHER.
The human mother of the fetus within her womb serves the
function of feeding her unborn child with physical food, so that
it may develop and grow physically. And also she carries it where
she may best protect it from physical injury or harm, until
parturition -- delivery from her womb.
The spiritual mother -- the Church -- is commissioned to "feed
the flock" (I Pet. 5:2) through the ministry which God has set in
the Church "for the perfecting of the saints ... for the
edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of
the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect
man ..." (Eph. 4:11-13). Just as the human fetus develops and
grows physically during the PRE-birth gestation period, so WE,
after begettal by God's Spirit, develop and grow SPIRITUALLY in
Human life starts with what the Bible terms "corruptible
seed" -- physical male sperm. Divine life starts with that which is
incorruptible -- the Holy Spirit of God entering the human person.
But as the human embryo must GROW till it becomes a fetus, which
must GROW to the point of being born into the human family, so
the Christian in whom divine life has been started by the gift of
God's incorruptible Spirit must GROW toward perfection to be born
into the GOD Family. He will then be perfect, unable to sin.
But -- that perfection of holy righteous CHARACTER must be
developed (with God's help and the in-filling of His Spirit
during this human life -- the spiritual "gestation" stage).
But not only is the Church to feed the members on the Word
of God -- spiritual food -- but also to protect these conceived but
yet unborn children of God from spiritual harm, as the very next
verse shows: "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to
and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the
sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait
to deceive ..." (Eph. 4:14).
Then, at the time of the resurrection, we in the Church -- the
spiritual mother -- shall be DELIVERED from her, and born
into -- brought forth into -- the Kingdom, the Spirit-composed FAMILY
Sons of God NOW
Now, further: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they
are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:14). The unborn child in his
mother's womb is the child of his father and mother, though not
yet born -- delivered from the womb. So are we, if God's Spirit
dwells in us -- if we are being led by God's Spirit -- children of
God. Yet, at this time, we are in the gestation state, not yet
parturition. And only HEIRS, not inheritors!
Continue: "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and
joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that
we may be [future -- at resurrection] also glorified together"
Now see how this passage designates the resurrection into
GLORY, when we shall BE Spirit, as a BIRTH!
"For the earnest expectation of the [creation] waiteth for
the manifestation of the sons of God" -- that is the time of
Christ's coming to REIGN and of the resurrection to SPIRlT
composition -- "... because the [creation] itself also shall be
delivered [a birth] from the bondage of corruption into the
glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the
whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until
now" (verses 19-22).
Here is another comparison. We shall be delivered from this
world (the Church is in, though not of this world) into the
glorious WORLD TOMORROW and the Kingdom which shall rule it.
The CREATION is waiting for this time of Christ's coming,
the resurrection, and the Kingdom of God, because the creation
shall be DELIVERED from the bondage of corruption or deteriorated
decay. It is not now delivered. It SHALL BE -- at the resurrection.
Although this is not referring directly to our being born again,
it IS a direct comparison to the BIRTH of a child being DELIVERED
from its mother's womb.
The resurrection -- the time when we are changed to BE Spirit
and to INHERIT the Kingdom will be a time of DELIVERY FROM the
bondage of corruptible flesh and from this world of SIN -- A REAL
Christ Born a Second Time By the Resurrection
Continue in Romans 8: "For whom he did foreknow, he also did
predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he
[Jesus] might be the firstborn among many brethren" (verse 29).
Now compare with Romans 1:3-4: "Concerning his Son Jesus
Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to
the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God ... by the
resurrection from the dead."
Jesus was, in the human flesh -- His first birth -- a descendant
of David. But, by the resurrection from the dead (born AGAIN),
Jesus became the born Son of God, now no longer human, but
composed of SPIRIT -- a Spirit Being. He thus became the FIRST SO
BORN of many brethren who shall be BORN AGAIN at the time of the
resurrection of those who are Christ's.
Of course we understand, and so did Paul in writing the
above, that Jesus was also the Son of God while in the human
flesh. Though born of a human woman, He was sired by God. But
this is comparing the two births: the one from the human Mary, as
descended from the human David, and the other, by His
resurrection to glory, as Son of God.
Emphatically this does NOT imply that Jesus was a sinner
needing salvation. He was the pioneer, setting us the example,
that we, too, may be BORN of God.
When Born Again What Shall We Be Like?
When we are born again, what shall we be like? The Bible gives us
the answer: "For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven;
from whence also we look for the saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
who shall change our vile body [FLESH], that it may be fashioned
like unto his glorious body ..." (Phil. 3:20-21).
Now notice a scripture in the third chapter of I John. Here
it plainly says that "WE" -- meaning begotten, converted
Christians -- are now, already, the SONS of God, as was explained
earlier. Next, this scripture reveals that "it doth not yet
appear WHAT WE SHALL BE." We are, later, to be something
different. As Jesus explained to Nicodemus, we SHALL BE immortal
Spirit. That is what we shall later be.
"But," this scripture continues -- read it -- understand this
WONDERFUL TRUTH -- " we know that, when he [Christ] shall appear
[at His second coming to earth] WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM...." We
shall look like Christ!
What does the GLORIFIED Christ look like? His eyes blaze
forth like flames of fire! His feet glow like finely burnished
brass. His face shines like the SUN, in FULL STRENGTH -- so bright
it would blind your eyes if He were visible to you now! (Rev.
1:14-16; 19:12-13; Matt. 17:2.)
And THAT is the way YOU and I shall look if and when we are
finally BORN of GOD!
Our Transcendent Potential
There is another passage, understood by almost none, that reveals
our astonishing transcendent potential! It begins in Hebrews 2:6:
"What is man, that thou art mindful of him?"
Even though this was covered in greater detail in chapter 3,
it is important that it be summarized in connection with the
subject of this chapter -- life after death.
Yes, why should the great God be concerned about us mortals?
WHY did He put us here on earth? What is the PURPOSE of life?
What is our transcendent potential? It is so far above and beyond
anything you have thought or imagined, it seems shockingly
Can you believe it? Are you willing to believe what is now
plainly stated? Here comes the astonishing answer, beginning
"Thou madest him a little lower than the angels." Some
translations have it, ''for a little while lower than the
angels.'' Continue: "Thou crownedst him [kingship] with GLORY and
honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands . .
NOT Yet the Universe!
"Thou hast put ALL THINGS [Moffatt: the universe] in subjection
under his feet. For in that he put ALL in subjection under him,
he left nothing that is not put under him...." Can you grasp
that? The entire, vast, endless UNIVERSE! But that is for BORN
sons of God. Man is not yet BORN -- except Christ only! Continue:
Here comes the answer:
"But now [in this present gestation state] we see NOT YET
all things [the universe] put under him" (verse 8).
But what do we see, NOW?
"But we see JESUS ... crowned with glory and honour"
(verse 9). Yes, Jesus has already been given the executive
administration of God's government -- the KINGDOM of GOD -- over the
entire UNIVERSE! Only, until our time to inherit and possess the
government of EARTH, at Christ's return, He is allowing Satan to
continue on this earth his work of deception. Now continue:
"For it became him [Jesus], for whom are all things, and by
whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto GLORY, to make
the captain [margin -- leader, forerunner, or pioneer -- the one who
has gone on before us, as we are to follow] of their salvation
perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they
who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not
ashamed to call them brethren" (verses 10-11).
Christ Our Elder Brother
We are, as quoted before, heirs of God, and joint-heirs -- as
BRETHREN -- With Christ. He has gone on ahead, through a
resurrection, to GLORY as the pioneer!
He is the firstborn of many brethren! He has INHERITED "all
things" -- the UNIVERSE! We are still heirs -- still in the gestation
stage of the process of being BORN of God. Jesus is now our elder
brother and high priest, supervising our spiritual
development -- preparing us to be kings and priests, reigning with
The first thousand years we shall reign ON THE EARTH. For He
shall have "made them kings and priests: and they shall reign on
the earth" (Rev. 5:10, RSV).
Ruling With Christ
For that first thousand years, Jesus is to reign on the throne of
His earthly ancestor DAVID in Jerusalem (Isa. 9:6-7). And "he
that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I
give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of
iron ...' (Rev. 2:26-27). But how and from where shall we rule?
Jesus said, again, "To him that overcometh will I grant to
sit with me in my throne [at Jerusalem], even as I also over
came, and am [now] set down with my Father in his throne" (Rev.
When BORN of God, we shall BE Spirit, no longer human flesh
and blood. We shall be given POWER!
As Daniel revealed, the saints then shall take the kingdoms
of earth's nations and rule them for the first thousand
years -- establishing WORLD PEACE and Divine government under
And after that? The passage in Hebrews 2 shows that then,
again under Christ, we shall be given power to rule over the
entire vast universe -- literally all things. For that is the power
that has been given to Christ and will be ours as joint
inheritors with Him!
Yes, there is a LIFE AFTER DEATH for those obedient to
God -- a Spirit life of incredible potential beyond our wildest
dreams! Can we humans grasp the awesome portent of these
astounding truths? Attaining immortal life should be our
all-encompassing goal. For that is the gift and desire of our
merciful Father and His Son Jesus Christ.