John 3:3 Yeshua answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of YaHWeH.
The idea of being born again has become so esoterical, in these last of the last days; The concept of being born again is seen as being a other worldly status that bears no change in the physical realm. To many, saying a “sinner’s prayer” causes one to be born again; for others, it is speaking in tongues that brings on the born again status. Either way, being born again does not alter the identity of the recipient: A Gentile who is born again is still a Gentile; a Jew who is born again is still a Jew. On the other hand, there are those who teach that a Jew who is born again loses all identification as a Jew, and becomes for all intent and purpose, a Christian Gentile.
What does it really mean to be born again? To understand this, one must have an understanding of the gospel; I do not mean the gospel as taught by the Church, but the gospel declared in the scriptures. The gospel declared in the scriptures is that of restoration; it is the awakening of the house of Ephraim (aka: 10 lost tribes) from their Gentile status, to their Hebrew status. Being born again is a total change in one’s identity. It does not matter where you can trace your Gentile heritage back to; when one is born again, they become Abraham’s descendants. It does not matter about genealogies; Hebrew identity has nothing to do with the flesh. In the flesh, Abraham was a Gentile as much so as any Gentile of the nations; but when he entered covenant with YaHWeH and obeyed the call of the most high Elohim, he became Abraham the Hebrew.
Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac; but it was Isaac who carried forth the Hebrew identity in covenant with YaHWeH; Ishmael became the father of a Gentile race. Isaac had two sons: Esau and Jacob; but it was Jacob who continued the Hebrew line in covenant with YaHWeH; Esau became the father of another Gentile race. What was the difference between Ismael and Isaac? What was the difference between Esau and Jacob? It was the covenant faith of Abraham. Being a Hebrew had nothing to do with being born of Abraham or Isaac, and it has nothing to do with being born of Jacob or his seed. Being Hebrew is a status of faith and not a genealogical birthright. Yes, from the perspective of men being a Hebrew is synonymous with being Jewish. From the perceptions of men, all Israel are Jewish; but this is not how YaHWeH determines Hebrew identity.
Jewish/Hebrew identity according to the wisdom of men is based on one of two criteria: One is born of a “Jewish” mother (the father’s identity is not important); or they are Hebrews/Jewish based on ritual conversion. A Gentile who goes through Jewish conversion is deemed to be in every way a Jew/Hebrew. Furthermore, it is considered to be bearing false witness to ever bring up the individuals past Gentile status. Jewish/Hebrew identity from the perspective of men’s wisdom is religiously motivated and sealed. A Gentile who has gone through Jewish conversion does not give birth to Gentiles, but to Jews/Hebrews.
The interesting thing about the Jewish concept of Jewish/Hebrew identity is that it closely mimics the born again truth of scripture. Water immersion is seen in Judaism as a womb; when a person is immersed in water, they are being placed into the womb; when they come up out of the water, it is though they have been reborn. Jewish tradition also teaches immersion as the grave; when a person is put in the water, it is as if they are dead and buried; when they come up out of the water, it is though they were being raised from the dead a new creation. To see more on this I would suggest the book “Waters of Eden” by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan
To bring all this back to scripture and the perspective of YaHWeH, when a Gentile is born again, he/she becomes the seed of Abraham, and Hebrews in every way. Please do not confuse Jewishness with being Hebrew; I am sure you have heard it said: “All Jews are Israel; but not all Israel are Jews.” This is very true and speaks broadly of the house of Ephraim (Israel) who are Israel, but are not Jews. I therefore like to rephrase the above, “All Jews are Hebrew, but not all Hebrews are Jews.” Even this is not a perfect way to see this, because while it may be politically incorrect to say, all Jews are not necessarily Hebrews- they are not all necessarily Abraham’s seed. Yeshua makes this clear in his comments to the Pharisees of the first century.
Joh 8:31 Then said Yeshua to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Joh 8:33 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
Joh 8:34 Yeshua answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
Joh 8:35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
Joh 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Joh 8:37 I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.
Joh 8:38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
Joh 8:39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Yeshua saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
Joh 8:40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of YaHWeH: this did not Abraham.
Joh 8:41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even Hashem.
Joh 8:42 Yeshua said unto them, If YaHWeH were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from YaHWeH; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Joh 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Joh 8:45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
Joh 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
Joh 8:47 He that is of YaHWeH heareth YaHWeH’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of YaHWeH.
We can see from this altercation that Yeshua was telling them that even if they are physically Abraham’s descendants, their failure to hear the truth and their desire to kill him says otherwise. They may have been Abraham the Gentiles descendants, but they certainly were not Abraham the Hebrews seed.
The belief that Abrahamic lineage comes only through DNA and or Jewish conversion rituals is proven false by the words of John the Immerser.
Luk 3:7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Luk 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That YaHWeH is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Paul states in Galatians 2:29: If you are Messiah’s, then you are Abraham’s seed….
Paul, also speaking to the non-Jewish believers, states
1Co 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
1Co 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
1Co 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
1Co 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Messiah.
Paul clearly sees these non-Jewish believers as the literal seed of Abraham and descendants of the Hebrew Exodus. Paul also understands that these so called Gentiles – or better still – goyim/ethnos, are accepted into the covenant by the blood of Yeshua as the house of Ephraim. It has nothing to do with physical DNA or religious conversion rituals; it is an identity brought about by the work of Messiah and the Holy Spirit: It is the Born Again experience of all those who come to faith through Messiah.
Being born again is esoteric to be certain; but it is also a very literal rebirth. Our Gentile identities are buried with Messiah and we are raised as Hebrew seed of Abraham. We do not enter this covenant as Gentiles; we enter as either the house of Judah or the house of Ephraim. The reality is that it doesn’t rally even matter if one is Jewish or non-Jewish as to what house they are of; it is more about where one pitches their tent. It is very possible to have a congregation of Judah and Ephraim; but more times than not, a congregation is one or the other. Paul is adamant that each person remain in the house they are called. Judah and Ephraim must remain two houses, united in our faith in Messiah, until Messiah returns and brings both sticks together as one nation. To be certain, the house of Judah is full of Ephraim, and the house of Ephraim is full of Judah. In the 2,700 years since the dispersion, Judah and Ephraim has not only mixed with the nations, but they have mixed themselves with each other.
If you were born a Gentile and have come to believe in Yeshua the Messiah, you are Abraham’s Hebrew seed and our now of the house of Ephraim; you are no longer a Gentile.
Eph 2:11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Messiah, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without YaHWeH in the world:
Eph 2:13 But now in Messiah Yeshua ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Messiah.
Eph 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
Eph 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in man-made ordinances (dogma); for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
Eph 2:16 And that he might reconcile both unto YaHWeH in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
Eph 2:17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
Eph 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Eph 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of YaHWeH;
Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Yeshua the Messaih himself being the chief corner stone;
Eph 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in YaHWeH:
Eph 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of YaHWeH through the Spirit.
Compare : Eph 2:11 with 1 Cor 7:18-20
Yeshua told Nicodemus that his Jewishness did not amount to a hill of beans; having Abrahamic DNA was not going to save him. Yeshua told this Jewish teacher of Israel that he must be born again. Nicodemus did not understand this, and Judaism still does not grasp this concept, outside of ritual conversion for non-Jews. The Church often teaches that Jews believe they earn salvation by keeping the law; this is Church ignorance on an epic scale that has led to connecting obeying YaHWeH with legalism. Jews believe they are saved by virtue of being Jews; Jews believe their “salvation” is solely based on the righteousness of the patriarchs, not on their own righteousness. This is not very far from what the Church and scripture teaches regarding our justification based on the work and righteousness of Messiah.
Are you born again? If you are then you are Abraham’s seed; you are a gentile no longer, but you are a Hebrew of the house of Ephraim. One may ask; what tribe am I from? Messiah will give us that information when he returns (Ezekiel 47-48).