And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Revelation 22:1 & 2
Friday, April 17, 2015
The Spirit, the Water & the Blood
Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
There is some disagreement on what exactly Jesus meant by these words! Was He telling Nicodemus the obvious, that one had to be born naturally, through the birth canal ( uterus ) as well as being ( re ) born of the Spirit, or was He speaking of the baptism of water which had, throughout that first ( covenant ) age, symbolized & signified this baptism from above, this entrance into the ministry ( priesthood )? In some sense it doesn't matter which is true, for either interpretation speaks of the same blatant truth; one must have been, under that first covenant, either literally, by his initiation into the priesthood, or metaphorically, by parting the waters of his mother's womb in natural birth, born naturally as well as being born spiritually.
However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.
I Corinthians 15:46
It is fairly well accepted that when the apostle wrote these words, he was referring to the covenants, or in essence, the ages, the first ( covenant ) being that wherein inheritance was by natural lineage & the last ( Covenant ) by spiritual birth! The promised Baptism of the Spirit was showered upon the descendants of Abraham, whereas the baptism of water simply signified this promised Baptism; it was never a guarantee of the Baptism from Above! The baptism ( by water ) of the priesthood of Israel testifies of this startling fact; some were good priests & some were bad!
For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.
1 John 5:7-8 ( ESV )
Traditionally speaking, the trinitarian doctrine relies most heavily, textually speaking, on these two verses, which in other versions, including the NKJV, read 'For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.And there are three that bear witness on earth:[b] the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one'. Whether or not these words ( about Father, Son & Holy Spirit ) were part of the original text, or were a later addition is somewhat beside the point right now, the point being, again, what does the apostle mean by the phrase, 'the Spirit, the water and the blood'? Is he agreeing with Jesus, using His words to say that it is the spiritual, together with the natural, that produce the new birth? The context, in particular the previous statement, seems to indicate that he is 'simply' speaking of Jesus natural birth!
The Blood of Jesus was without doubt, according to the sacrificial system instituted under the first covenant, an acceptable atonement for the sins of His people! Since a Spirit does not have Blood, our Creator invested Himself in His Creation in order that He might shed His Blood for His Creation. Natural birth, of course, involves a kind of 'water', which is more technically called 'amniotic fluid'. Water, on the other hand, Scripturally speaking, is indicative as well of the ( work of ) the Spirit, especially in connection with sprinkling ( baptism ), rivers, streams, springs, etc. These three agree, as Jesus also seemed to indicate to Nicodemus, for in order to receive the New Birth, to become a New Creation, the Body of Israel/Christ was in need of all three!
As we have noted many times before, the Scriptures are a Book of Covenant; they are a record of our Heavenly Father's dealings with His Covenant People! As such, we should take note that they reveal to us how the Grace of God, which had been hidden under the darkness of that first covenant finally came to light in the New, in Jesus who was the Christ! The Story of Israel is about the Creator of all singling out a certain people, according to the flesh, in order that through the flesh, He might enter into Blessed Relationship with His Creation!
In conclusion, then, when Jesus told Nicodemus that they, the Body of Israel, 'must be born again', He was simply reminding him ( though Nicodemus should have known ) that it was not enough for them to be born according to the natural way of things, in essence, through their mother's birth canal; they must also receive the 'new heart' ( Ezekiel 36:26 ) in order to inherit the Kingdom of God, or in Essence, Heaven Itself, the very Blessed Presence of God, the Creator! Though the term 'born again' referred to that Body of Israel under the first covenant, we may also apply that term to those today as well who awake from their own sleep of death to that Blessed Reality of Communion with their Creator. Through Water & Blood, we were born naturally; by the Spirit,we entered into Blessed Communion with the immutable Creator!