BIRTHED OUT of GOD
BY: JONATHAN MITCHELL
John 1:10, 12-13.
10. It was (or: He was, and continued existing being) within the world (ordered system), and the world (ordered system) came to be (or: was birthed) through It (or: by means of Him), and the world (ordered system) did not have intimate, experiential knowledge of It (or: did not recognize Him; had no insight into It).
I have chosen to use the word “It” in the above passage, as the verbs have no personal pronoun in the text, although I have indicated that “He” is also correct, and I have wanted to carry through the thought that the subject is still “The Word,” which in the English language is normally without gender (but in Greek is masculine). I am not here saying that the Word is not the “Person” which became Jesus, on earth, but I’m emphasizing what I see as being the continuation of the thought which John began in vs. 1-3, continuing to show that the Word was the source of Life, and was the Light of mankind in vs. 4-5, and then expanding the concept of this Word being “the Light” in vs. 8-12.
Now what I want is to look at verses 12-13.
12. Yet, as many as receive It (or: took Him) – to the ones habitually trusting and believing into Its Name (or: His Name) – It gives (or: He gave) to them (or: in them) authority ([the] right; or: privilege from out of the midst of Being) to be birthed (or: to become) God’s children (born ones),
13. who are born (or: were given birth) not out of bloods (or: [flows] of blood), neither forth from the will of flesh (or: from the intent of a flesh [ceremony]), nor yet out of the will (purpose; intent)of an adult male, but to the contrary, from out of the midst of God!
Here we have what I think are two concepts that are related, but not identical:
1. coming to be God’s children
2. being born, or birthed from out of God
In vs. 13 the verb “born” is in the aorist, passive. It is a simple past tense, but also a simple statement of fact: these were born from out of God.
Why, then, did John say, in vs. 12, that these same ones were given the right, the privilege, the authority, “to become” (or, it would seem: to be birthed; to come into existence being) “God’s children”?
Vs. 13 is an explanatory qualifier of the same ones “who received” It (the Word), or Him. These were those who had been born of God. And it did not count that they were of any particular blood line (or ancestral heritage), nor if they had been circumcised in the flesh, nor if THEY (or any other “man”) had done this of his own will!
In Rom. 9:25-26, Paul quotes Hosea 2:23 and 1:10. He here combines the thoughts of Israel being God’s people, and their being God’s children (specifically, sons, in vs. 26 & Hos. 1:10). In Hos., Israel is being spoken of as a whole, not as individuals. It is as “a people” that they are being referred to. They were to be called “not my people” in Hos. 1:9, but then would be called “sons of the living God” (vs. 10). In Hos. 11:1, God says, “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, an called My son out of Egypt.” Now Matthew sees in this also a prophecy about Christ. But here is another witness of Israel, as a corporate people, being called God’s son, His children.
In Rom. 9:4 Paul tells us that “sonship” and the covenants (becoming God’s people) belonged to Israel.
Now in John 3:5-8, we see that being “born of God” is being called “born of the Spirit.” and is set in contrast to being “born of water,” or “born of the flesh.” [Now I suggest here that being born of water not only speaks of a natural birth, on one level, but would refer to Jewish ritual washings and baptisms, including the baptism of John. The being born of the flesh would refer both to being born an Israelite, and to becoming a son of Israel via circumcision, which could be also done by a Gentile convert to Judaism. These were things that Nicodemus, a (lit. “the”) teacher of Israel should have known. (vs. 10)]
If my thinking is correct, here, then in John 1:12, where he says that the Word (of the covenant?) gives those who receive that Word (whether Israel, from Sinai to Christ, or whether believers, from Christ, on) the rights, privileges and authority to become “God’s children,” John means that they have become the true Israel, figuratively called “children of God” – to whom pertain the “sonship” and the things listed by Paul in Rom. 9:4). Or, it is like those in Rom. 11, who, being now born of God (of the Spirit) are grafted into the olive tree and have the right and authority to produce oil-bearing fruit (the fruit of the Spirit).
But now let’s look at what John said in his first letter:
“Everyone continuously believing and trusting that Jesus is (or: exists being) the Christ (the Anointed One; = the Messiah) has been brought to birth and is now a born-one (= is a child; a bairn) from out of God. And everyone continuously loving the One bearing and giving birth would also (or: should also) love the person (or: the One) having been born out of Him.” (1 John 5:1)
“. . . everyone habitually doing (practicing; constructing; accomplishing; making; producing) fair and equitable dealing (that which is right and in accord with the Way pointed out; justice; righteousness) has been born and now exists being a born-one (or: now stands begotten), from out of the midst of Him (and: with Him as the Source).” John 2:29)
“Beloved ones, we should be continuously loving one another, because love (or: the Love) exists continuously (or: is) from out of the midst of God, and every one continuously loving has been born, and exists being a born-one, from out of the midst of God, and constantly experiences intimate knowledge of God (or: comes to know by experiences from God; gains knowledge and insight by the experience which is God).” (1 John 4:7)
1 Pet. 1:23-23.”being folks having been born again (been regenerated; been given birth back up again), not from out of a corruptible (or: perishable) seed that was sown, but rather of an incorruptible (imperishable; undecayable) one: through God’s continually living and permanently remaining Word (or: through a message or expressed thought of [the] continuously living and constantly abiding God),”
None of these verses say that we chose to be born. The ones who actually receive the Word are those who “were born” from out of God (John 1:12, 13). From this act of God springs all else within us. The life implanted within us then elicits a response, like the baby’s first breath or cry, and we say “Yes!” to our Father.
BIRTHED OUT of GOD [Jonathan Mitchell] 1