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Featured "Born of water" - meaning what exactly?

Discussion in 'Scriptural Debates' started by David Young, Jan 16, 2022.

  1. David Young

    David Young Member

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    There are at least four interpretations of what "born of water", from the fourth gospel, means.

    Which one, if any, do you go for and why not one of the others?
     
  2. Jacob Samuelson

    Jacob Samuelson Active Member

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    You are going to have to define the other interpretations in order to best answer your question. As for the born of water passage in John 3, I believe it will always refer to baptism by water. The main reasoning is when Jesus gets baptized in Matthew, He states that by getting baptized with John, they are fulfilling all righteousness. And then he saw the Spirit of God descend upon him like a dove. In similar speech to Nicodemus, Jesus says that unless a man is born again in the water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Many Biblical Christians think that if Jesus is referring to baptism than it is a contradiction to other passages in the bible where salvation is free and requires no works. Because they equate salvation as the same as entering the kingdom of God, they are forced to change the meaning of Born of Water as baptism to a symbolic baptism, where belief in Christ is enough. To me, Jesus didn't symbolically get baptized by John. He literally did. Then right after his meeting with Nicodemus he goes and baptizes with his disciples. The author of John and Matthew both clearly knew what Born of Water meant, regardless of whether Nicodemus knew what it meant or not. Water is of the Flesh (baptism), Spirit is Spirit (Holy Ghost).
     
  3. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    I tend to follow this from John Gill:

    these are, (twnv) (twlm) , "two words", which express the same thing, as Kimchi observes in many places in his commentaries, and signify the grace of the Spirit of God. The Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions read, "the Holy Spirit", and so Nonnus; and who doubtless is intended: by "water", is not meant material water, or baptismal water; for water baptism is never expressed by water only, without some additional word, which shows, that the ordinance of water baptism is intended: nor has baptism any regenerating influence in it; a person may be baptized, as Simon Magus was, and yet not born again; and it is so far from having any such virtue, that a person ought to be born again, before he is admitted to that ordinance: and though submission to it is necessary, in order to a person's entrance into a Gospel church state; yet it is not necessary to the kingdom of heaven, or to eternal life and salvation: such a mistaken sense of this text, seems to have given the first birth and rise to infant baptism in the African churches; who taking the words in this bad sense, concluded their children must be baptized, or they could not be saved; whereas by "water" is meant, in a figurative and metaphorical sense, the grace of God, as it is elsewhere; see ( Ezekiel 36:25 ) ( John 4:14 ) . Which is the moving cause of this new birth, and according to which God begets men again to, a lively hope, and that by which it is effected; for it is by the grace of God, and not by the power of man's free will, that any are regenerated, or made new creatures: and if Nicodemus was an officer in the temple, that took care to provide water at the feasts, as Dr. Lightfoot thinks, and as it should seem Nicodemon ben Gorion was, by the story before related of him; (See Gill on John 3:1); very pertinently does our Lord make mention of water, it being his own element: regeneration is sometimes ascribed to God the Father, as in ( 1 Peter 1:3 ) ( James 1:18 ) , and sometimes to the Son, ( 1 John 2:29 ) and here to the Spirit, as in ( Titus 3:5 ) , who convinces of sin, sanctifies, renews, works faith, and every other grace; begins and carries on the work of grace, unto perfection;
     
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  4. David Young

    David Young Member

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    The four interpretations that have been given are:

    baptism,
    a reference to the Exodus,
    a reference to 'washing', seen as a component of conversion to Christianity,
    and
    physical birth.

    I would plump for baptism, with the Exodus option being a distant alternative. Personally, I think the likelihood that it had a meaning now lost to history is more likely than either the washing or physical-birth explanations.
     
  5. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    IIRC, 60% of human body is water
     
  6. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Turned to Stone. Now I stretch daily.
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    Maybe. Its Jesus the Jew talking to another Jew. They could be talking about regularly taken mikveh's or the crossing of the red sea or perhaps just being alive. It could be about washing their hands. Water and spirit could refer to circumcision of the flesh and of the mind.
     
  7. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

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    I think there are several things that can be called "born of water". In my opinion the best is this:

    Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
    John 4:13-14

    I have understood that water is the words and the spirit that can be transferred by the words. And the words can cause change in person so that he is "born anew".

    It is the spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life.
    John 6:63

    A born-again child of God (kolumbus.fi)
     
  8. Fool

    Fool ALL in all
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    goes to the original in genesis 1:2. all things were created with fluidity and spirit. in other systems it was known as chaos, or unfathomable waters. in other words something without a definite, fixed, limited form and consciousness.

    mind, body duality
     
  9. wellwisher

    wellwisher Well-Known Member

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    The four elements of the ancient times, through the middle ages, were earth, fire, air and water. In modern times, these four elements symbolized the four psychological functions. These four psychological functions is how human consciousness orientates itself to reality. Water is intellect, air is intuition, earth is sensory based, while fire is emotion. We all use these four functions, with one of them being the primary way each of us perceive and analyze the world. A scientist can feel; emotions, has sensory skills; earth, and has gut feelings; air, but his primary orientation is based on water or his intellect leading; reads the journals.

    Born of water has to do with the intellect leading. In the context of this topic that had to do with studying the Bible and/or the other the Holy Books of various culture. These set of ideas, when assimilated over a lifetime, leads to knowledge and wisdom. This type of studying does not require seeing is believing; earth, a strong blind emotional drive; fire, or thinking deep esoteric intuitions; air. But a focused mind that learns and analyzes these holy publications.

    In the modern Catholic Religion, the water of baptism touches the baby's mind's eye, via a sign of the cross; place between the eyes. This symbolized that you will intellectually learn the Catechism and develop a type of wisdom for life and love.

    Some orientations of Christianity, such as the Baptist, will fully submerge the person to be baptized in water. This symbolism implies that the other three senses will need to enveloped by your intellect and learning. This can seem odd to some, since the intellect; learned knowledge, can contradict your senses. But this develops the charisma of faith. The repression of the other there functions can also lead to spontaneous output from the unconscious mind; talking in tongues; air, visions; earth and spirited soulful singing; fire.
     
  10. 2ndpillar

    2ndpillar Well-Known Member

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    The physical water baptism of Matthew 3 was with respect to the baptism of repentance. The spiritual version is with respect to the "springling with clean water" of Ez 36:27, with respect to the house of Israel for them to be "cleansed", after they have been "gathered out of the nations" (Ez 36:24), which hasn't happened as of 10:46 A.M of today. You also need the baptism of the spirit (Mt 3:11). The symbolism of the baptism of water is the cleaning away of sins due to confessions of Ephraim and Judah (Hosea 5:15) and repentance, the same that is required to enter into the actual kingdom of God, whereas the combined "stick" of Judah, and the "stick" of Ephraim are combined on the land given to Jacob, cleansed (Ez 37:23) or "springled with clean water" (Ez 36:27) to be given a new spirit and heart (Ez 36:26) to "be careful to observe My ordinances" (EZ 36:27) under the reign of "My servant David" (Ez 37:24).

    There is a more important baptism for the nations/Gentiles, the other "flock doomed for slaughter" of Zechariah 11:7. That will be the baptism by fire, in which the judgment of God will come to the nations/Gentiles after the reviving of Judah and Jerusalem (Joel 3:1-2), most often referred to Har-Magedon, the "great tribulation" of Matthew 24, which happens "immediately before" the coming of the son of man in the clouds (Matthew 24:29-30). The survivors from among the nations/Gentiles of this fire (great tribulation) will also confess that their fathers taught them nothing but falsehoods (Jeremiah 16:19).
     
    #10 2ndpillar, Jan 16, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2022
  11. 74x12

    74x12 Well-Known Member

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    Water baptism. It's important for obedience sake. Even Jesus was baptized and he had no sin to be forgiven. When John wondered why; Jesus said it was to fulfill all righteousness. That should be something every Christian wants to do.
     
  12. alex2165

    alex2165 Member

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    In my point of view "born of water" means to wash your negative attributes from your soul and keep it clean.

    Just like Hebrews washed their physical uncleanness of their bodies in the water after disease, bodily fluids, and other things, and even their clothes and unclean items of their household, and so under the Christ the same physical ritual became spiritual ritual, using the same physical water to clean spiritual uncleanness of the soul.
     
  13. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    The use of water as being both a real and symbolic cleansing is from Judaism, whereas the mikvah predates the baptismal ritual and the Temple priests had to ritually wash their hands when handling sacrifices. And my guess is that it likely predates Judaism as well.
     
  14. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Figures that a preacher would be so long-winded. :p
     
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  15. Muffled

    Muffled Jesus in me

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    I believe it represents repentence which is what John the Baptist was teaching. A born is born into life out of death at least in his heart.
     
  16. Muffled

    Muffled Jesus in me

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    I don't remember any born again scenario in the OT.
     
  17. Muffled

    Muffled Jesus in me

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    I believe if you don't do the repentance then the baptism is meaningless. That is why baby baptism is deceptive.
     
  18. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Turned to Stone. Now I stretch daily.
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    Moses is drawn out as a baby, so you might consider yourself to have been part of that if you are Moses disciple. The ark is another birth from the water, so you might consider yourself born of water if you are keeping the covenant of Noah. These are guesses.

    Eden is born out of water, and the temple which faces East is patterned after Eden and contains the Ark. So if you are someone who goes to the temple and take your mikvehs as prescribed then you might call yourself born of water that way. That's another guess.

    There is the birth of Nathan the general from Assyria who washes 7 times in the Jordan. That another birth from water. He is cleansed of leprosy, a condition which causes a person to be isolated and unable to participate in the festivals or the temple. He is made new and can serve the L-RD now. He comes to life in a sense.
     
  19. 74x12

    74x12 Well-Known Member

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    I agree.

    What I meant by this is in regards of those who already have been baptized in the holy Spirit and repented of their sins. They should still be water baptized if they want to obey the words of Jesus Christ even though they already have been "born of the Spirit" and are children of God already.
     
  20. David Young

    David Young Member

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    For those who, unlike me, take the view that the fourth gospel is in some way divinely authored, why do you think the writer of the 'born of water' section used a phrase which had never been used before in any writing which survives to this day?

    From a secular point of view, it makes perfect sense.
     
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