Examining the Greek: Emphatic Negations (Conclusion & Review)

Editor’s note:

Justin Alfred, a Biblical language expert, has been walking us through “emphatic negations” in Biblical Greek. Emphatic negations are an explicitly strong way to express a negative. While a normal negative might mean “that will not happen,” an emphatic negative further tells the reader that  there is not even the slightest possibility that something will occur.

To illustrate the use of emphatic negations, Justin began with a small blog series on emphatic negations in the Sermon on the Mount. Then, he began our current series on the emphatic negations found in Matthew 13.

In the first post, Justin introduced the text of Matthew 13:1-17 and passive verbs; he pointed out that God foreordained that Jesus’ disciples would have the ability to know the mysteries of the kingdom. In the second post, Justin continued expounding on the text, explaining that one must be born again in order to accept the things of God.

In the third and fourth post, Justin showed us that Jesus confirmed all of this in John 3, with his encounter with Nicodemus. He gave three important passages in regards to the new birth, showing that:

  1. The new birth is not a new concept.
  2. There is no relationship with God apart from the new birth.
  3. Jesus was not talking about water baptism when he used the term “born of water”

Justin’s conclusion:


Thus, we can now see even more clearly why Jesus said what He did in Matthew 13:14, and it has been stated in the Greek using οὐ μή (ou mē) with the Aorist Subjunctive, which is the strongest form of emphasis in the Greek New Testament – NO ONE CAN ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD BEING RELIGIOUS, BUT RATHER THAT ENTRANCE MUST BE THROUGH THE MEANS OF A SPIRITUAL REBIRTH GENERATED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD! And once again, as Paul said, “a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

There are some very religious people who are very “natural,” but tragically, they do not have a relationship with God, and consequently, apart from the spiritual rebirth, THEY WILL NEVER AT ANY TIME EVEN BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 13:11).

  • Steve

    In Hebrews 6:1-2 are the elementary teachings about Jesus Christ. The FOUNDATION. If you take these principles away, your house will come to ruin. BAPTISM(S) or being born of water is one of these principles. In fact, its the third one.
    1. Repentance from dead works
    2. Faith on God
    3-5. Doctrine of BAPTISM(S)
    6. Laying on of Hands
    7. Resurrection from the dead
    8. Eternal Judgment

    In John 3, Jesus states that a person MUST be born of WATER and the HOLY SPIRIT to enter the kingdom of God. Did Jesus say we must do anything else because of this kingdom?

    Matthew 4:17 – From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

    Mark 1:14-15 – Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

    Jesus tells us that we have to REPENT and BELIEVE because the kingdom of God is at hand. First two foundation principles right? Whats the third one? Baptism??? Is this into water?

    Prove to be Jesus’ disciples!

    Matthew 23:13 – “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.

    Question: What is the kingdom of heaven/God? It is a mystery we know but what does the Bible say it is?

    • Kent

      I used to wonder about this very same thing. What I came to realize is that the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven are two different kingdoms. The kingdom of God is the spiritual realm and the kingdom of heaven is the physical world. If you read scripture and the parables with that in mind it will make the understanding of them clearer (at least for me it does.)


      • Barbara LeFevre


        I had always heard that the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of heaven are synonymous, but after reading your comments, I did some research. I found an article that demonstrates that they are, indeed, one in the same. Matthew is the only one who uses the title “Kingdom of heaven” (31 times) although he does use the title “kingdom of God” (5 times). Below are the parallel verses to illustrate that they are one in the same:

        Matt. 4:17 / Mk. 1:15
        Matt. 5:3, 10 / Lk. 6:20
        Matt. 8:11 / Lk. 13:28
        Matt. 10:7 / Lk. 9:60
        Matt. 11:11 / Lk. 7:28
        Matt. 11:12 / Lk. 16:16
        Matt. 13:11 / Mk. 4:11
        Matt. 13:31 / Mk. 4:30-31
        Matt. 13:33 / Lk. 13:20-21
        Matt. 19:14 / Mk. 10:14
        Matt. 19:23 / Mk. 10:23
        Matt. 25:14 / Lk. 19:11-13

        I hope this helps. Have a blessed day!

    • Wert

      Very interesting about the Baptism. but what is “born of water” anyway?

      Do the practice of water baptism is necessary to salvation? Do I need/must go through “water baptism” to enter the kingdom of God?

      If the water baptism is so necessary practice because of most Christians believes that “born of water” in John 3:5 is interpreted as “water baptism” and MUST be practice for salvation, then that means Jesus Himself violate the His own Word – “born of water” – because one of the criminals in Luke 23:43 – who was crucified with Jesus was saved! I believe that the criminals is not yet been “water baptism” for in Mark 1:4 water baptism is “baptism of repentance” and of course the criminals is not repented yet, if the criminals is repented he should never been crucified. Do you think so?

      I personally believes that salvation to enter the kingdom of God is through FAITH in Jesus Christ alone and repentance toward God is the prove my faith in Christ for faith without work is dead. – James 2:24,26.

      For Bible reference verses used above:

      Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (NKJV)

      John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (NKJV)

      Mark 1:4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.(NKJV)

      James 2:24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
      James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (NKJV)

      • Barbara LeFevre


        As I’m sure you’ll agree, we need to fully utilize II Timothy 3:16 when formulating doctrine. We are very clearly told in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Because no Scripture can be at variance with any other Scripture, the only obvious conclusion is that water baptism, clearly a human work, cannot be part of being born again. For this reason alone, when Jesus tells Nicodemus that part of being born again is that he MUST be “born of water,” then it cannot be referring to water baptism because that would contradict the Ephesians verses as well as Revelation 1:5. However, Jesus didn’t just leave it at that; He provided further explanation so that we would know He wasn’t referring to water baptism, and it is done through parallelism. In verse 5, we are told that man must be “born of water” and “of the Spirit,” and in verse six, we are told exactly what that means: “That which is “born of the flesh [water] is flesh;” and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

        You make an excellent point regarding Jesus’ acceptance of the one criminal who wasn’t water baptized but who was saved. I don’t exactly understand what you mean when you wrote, “…if the criminals is repented he should never been crucified.” Are you saying that, because the criminal was saved, he shouldn’t have been crucified?

        You cited Mark 1:4 which speaks of a “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” I haven’t done a complete study of this phrase, but I think that it may refer to a baptism of the Father because it is through repentance that our sins are remitted and we come under the Father. That we know of the water baptism of Jesus and being baptized by the Holy Spirit, I think a good case can be made that the Father also has a baptism. Any thoughts?

        Have a blessed day!

        • Wert

          HI, Barbara LeFevre

          your Question:

          “…if the criminals is repented he should never been crucified.” Are you saying that, because the criminal was saved, he shouldn’t have been crucified?

          my Answers:

          No that I means, but if the criminals has been baptized before, he would already repented and do not doing wrong things in his life and will never ended at the cross.

          and again about the:

          “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”

          I believe that the John water baptism never wash/remission the sins but it just a ways to prepare man’s heart to meet Jesus.

          I think water baptism will only benefit for public spectacles, to let the public know that this man have make commitment to be part of the body of Christ, but water baptism itself will never wash/remission sins or part of salvation to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

          God bless..

          • Barbara LeFevre


            Thank you for the clarification; however, I would appreciate additional clarification about something you wrote something in this second post. In your last paragraph, you say that water baptism is “to let the public know that this man [has made a] commitment to be part of the body of Christ,” but in the sentence above it, you wrote that water baptism is “just a [way] to prepare man’s heart to meet Jesus.” There are a couple of things I’d like to say. First, these two ideas don’t agree with each other, and secondly, where is the scriptural proof to support your belief that water baptism is to “prepare a man’s heart to meet Jesus”? Scripture tells us that our coming to Jesus is solely the work of God. John 6:44 says, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” In addition, Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

            Thank you and have a blessed day!

          • Welton

            What of Jesus’statement in Luke 24:46-47, Peter’s response in Acts 2:38, and Ananias’ response to Saul(Paul) in Acts 22:16?

          • Barbara LeFevre


            Thank you for responding. You have given some very good verses that need to be addressed. We know that only the blood of Jesus washes away our sins (Rev. 1:5), so water baptism, clearly a human work, cannot be the baptism spoken of in so many of the verses cited. Some time back, I read Mark 1:4 which says, ” John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” This got me to thinking that there is a baptism unto the Father because it is only through our “repentance” that we receive “remission of sins” and are able to come into fellowship with the Father. In addition, we know that there is a baptism into Jesus and a baptism unto the Holy Spirit, so it seems logical that the Father also has a baptism. I haven’t gone through Scripture to specifically address each of the verses that are in question, but I think this is a good place to start. What do you think?

            In Christ~

        • steve morrow

          Ezekiel 36:25
          Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you and you shall be clean from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you

          Ezekiel 44:23
          And they shall teach MY people the difference between the holy and profane and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean

          John 15:3
          Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken to you

          1 Corinthians 6:9-11
          Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of GOD
          Be not deceived neither fornicators nor idolators nor adulterers nor effeminate nor abusers of themselves with mankind

          (10)Nor thieves nor covetous nor drunkards nor revilers nor extortioners shall inherit the kingdom of GOD

          (11)And such —WERE—some of you
          But you are—WASHED—
          But you are sanctified
          But you are justified
          In the name of the LORD JESUS
          and by the spirit

          John 6:63
          It is the spirit that quickeneth
          The flesh profiteth nothing
          the words that —I SPEAK—
          they are spirit
          and they are life

          1 Peter 1:23
          Being born again not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible by the word of GOD
          Which liveth and abideth forever

          Luke 22:20
          Likewise also the cup after supper saying
          This cup is the—NEW TESTAMENT–IN MY BLOOD–
          Which is shed for you

          John 6:54 Whoso eateth MY flesh and drinketh —MY BLOOD— hath eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day


          Revelation 1:2&5
          Who bare record of the word of GOD and of the testimony of JESUS CHRIST and of all things that he saw

          (5) And from JESUS CHRIST who is the faithful witness and the first begotten of the dead and the prince of the kings of the earth Unto HIM that loved us and washed us from our sins in HIS own blood

          Ephesians 5:24
          Therefore as the church is subject unto CHRIST so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing

          Ephesians 5:25
          Husbands love your wives even as the CHRIST also loved and gave himself for it

          Ephesians 5:26
          That HE might sanctify and—CLEANSE—it with the washing of water —BY THE WORD—

          1 John 5:8
          And there are three that that bear witness
          in earth —THE SPIRIT—AND THE WATER—


      • Steve

        I hear the thief on the cross a lot. Jesus had the authority on earth to forgive sins of anyone He chose. There was a man that could not walk and Jesus told him that his sins were forgive. The Pharisees said – how can this man forgive him of sin, only God can. Jesus’ response was – so you know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, man pick up your pallet and walk. This happened many times while Jesus was on the earth. But interesting enough about the thief on the cross is that he died with Jesus. Baptism is a death.

        Luke 12:50
        “But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!

        This was Jesus talking and this was long past since when He was baptized by John to fulfill all righteousness. He was referring to His death on the cross and resurrection.

        I encourage everyone to read Romans 6. If we took baptism out of the Word, we would not have a way to die with Christ. If we do not die with Christ we are still slaves to sin. It says – for he who has died is free from sin! If you take a look at most main stream churches that do not practice this, you can see that there is just as much sin in the church as there is out in the world.

        1 John 4:9
        No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

        If by baptism we die to sin and no longer are slaves to sin. And if by being born of God means we do not practice sin because His seed abides in us and we can not sin because we are born of God. Being born of God and being baptized go hand in hand.

        Matthew 7:21-23
        “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

        To enter into God’s kingdom, one must do the will of My Father. Some are not going to do this but will go around in Jesus’ name doing things. But at the judgment when ALL man stands before the only Righteous Judge this is when He will separate those whom He knows who have His Seed abiding in them and that do not practice sin and then those who knew Jesus but He did not know them because they practiced LAWLESSNESS = sin.

        What happens when you remove baptism from God’s Word?

        The kingdom of God is RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE & JOY in the HOLY SPIRIT. Someone MUST have the Holy Spirit to be apart of God’s kingdom. How do we get it – Acts 2:38!

        • Welton


      • Steve B

        Hi Wert.
        Look at baptism as an act of obedience to the new life. Paul discusses this in Romans 6. The idea as I’ve come to understand it is that when we are born again, we take on a new nature. As read in the Ezekiel 36 passage on new birth, there’s a part of us that dies.
        This death to that old nature and our resurrection to the new life is then ceremonialized by our being baptized. We enter the water as the old man, which dies. We rise out of the water as a new man, in Christ.

        This is how I’ve come to view it. Romans 6 really does do the best, in my mind, of defining the ideas behind baptism.

    • eric

      didnt Jesus also tell us to repent AND be baptized and we shall be saved?

      • eric

        instead of making a doctrine out of everything man believes to be true,why not just do as we are told by Father and live free from a law that bind us from this freedom.this law is theology and man made doctrine.oh how it truly does keep us bound from this freedom Jesus gave us. Paul said he “demonstrates” the gospel with the Spirit and power,not with inticing words. are we not to do the same.may we step into the
        spirit of life and step out of this thing called religion that holde us back from doing Gods will and living in His kingdom here and now.God bless you my beloved

        • jack

          where you get that verse below?

          Paul said he “demonstrates” the gospel with the Spirit and power,not with inticing words.

          • Steve B

            you’ll find that passage at
            1 Corinthians 2:4.
            Please look at it in its entire context: 1 Cor 2:1-5.

      • jack

        do referring to this verse below?

        Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.(NKJV)

        – look carefully, the verse didn’t say about “water baptism” but baptizing them “in the name”…

    • Rex Cleveland

      This is my favorite verse regarding the “kingdom of God”: Paul, being inspired by the Holy Spirit in Romans 14:17 says (after speaking about the Jewish dietary laws), “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”. Enter God’s kingdom by staying connected to His Spirit by abiding (remaining) in Christ, praying without ceasing and delighting in His Word. Then those most beautiful of characteristics (one’s essence), righteousness and peace and joy, will be yours in abundance. God bless.

  • laurie

    born of water and born of spirit….. John 3:6 (NLT) Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. ……Only humanity can be born again. We are not Gods only created beings,( i.e. angels, ) So it is possible to conclude that born of water is a natural birth (water in amniotic sac) and born of the Spirit is a regenerated spirit by the Holy spirit.

    Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven …. a glimpse into Strong’s concordance teaches that the Kingdom of Heaven is the realm in which God Himself lives with Jesus at His right hand. The kingdom of God is in the born again believer and is realm in which Jesus has full Lordship in our lives. Our hearts, His to lead and guide. The Kingdom of God grows in the earth as the body of Christ submits to the Head( Jesus) as Lord and King.

  • steve morrow

    Lord Jesus would not baptism be part of YOUR teachings and would it not therefore be part of the gospel and of YOUR gracious words that YOU have —GIVEN— to us

    Mark 8:35
    For whosoever will save his life shall lose but whosoever shall lose his life for MY sake and the gospels the same shall save it

    Titus 2:11&12
    For the grace of GOD that—BRINGETH— salvation hath appeared
    to all men
    (12) —TEACHING— us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts
    we should live —SOBERLY—RIGHTEOUSLY—AND GODLY—in this present world

    Psalm 119:155
    Salvation is far from the wicked
    For they seek not thy statutes

    Luke 6:46
    And why call ye ME LORD LORD
    And—do—not the things which I say

    Psalm 15:1&2
    LORD who shall abide in thy tabernacle
    Who shall dwell in thy holy hill
    (2)He that walketh uprightly and —WORKETH RIGHTEOUSNESS—
    and —SPEAKETH— the truth in his heart

    1 John 3:10
    In this the children of GOD are manifest and the children of the devil

    1 John 3:7

    Revelation 2:5
    REMEMBER therefore from whence thou art fallen–AND REPENT—
    —AND DO THE FIRST WORKS—or else I will come unto thee quickly and will remove thy candlestick out of his place

    1 Peter 4:17
    For the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of GOD and if it first begin at us

    2 Thessalonians 1:7&8
    And to you who are troubled rest with us
    when the LORD JESUS shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels

    O my LORD we have much to do help us O LORD to do these things
    you command of us for we can do nothing on our own but we can do everything through you for you give us the strength to persevere and endure and —IF— we ask you anything according to the will of father it will be done as you have promised



  • Lance H.

    Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.*

    Jesus is very clear what He means by being born of water, and it’s not baptism. “born of water” is explained in the next sentence. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit, is Spirit. Born again means born of/by the Spirit

    • Keith

      The thief on the cross was not not required to be baptized because Jesus had not yet ascended just as the Holyghost was not yet given. the new birth was at Pentecost.

  • Maya

    Please, concerning ‘Born of water’ refer to the post of June 27th (of Sr. Justin Alfred). I quote:
    “However, what we do find in this passage regarding the rebirth is what is called a literary parallelism – that is, Jesus is using what is called a chiastic structure to explain His point. I can illustrate this truth in the following manner, with the ‘a’ and ‘b’ parts being the two different aspects of this chiasmus. However, it must be stated that the springboard for this chiastic approach is the very question posed by Nicodemus: “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus, therefore, is responding to this question of the physical birth raised by Nicodemus, and He does so by directly addressing the physical birth out of a woman’s womb, which is the physical birth of the “flesh,” and it occurs out of an amniotic water sac that has been protecting the baby in the womb:”

    I would like to refer to you an important work of Sr. James Allen – “As A Man Thinketh” (alluding to Pro 23:7). A wonderful work on how we are to always have good thoughts and therefore work continually on it. It is only some 30-40pp, but wonderfully dense. (http://jamesallen.wwwhubs.com/think.htm)
    The same way we are to work hard to have food on our table, the same way we are to work hard spiritually to do His will.

    Thank you all for your wonderful comments. Love and peace be to you all, in Jesus name.

  • Chubby

    In Christian Science, the religion far too many people toss off as a dangerous “cult”, Mary Baker Eddy got it right. The new man is the perfect man, the “be ye perfect” or the “ye be perfect” man that Jesus spoke of, and the new birth is accepting that perfection as one’s new-old-eternal-only self. It is based on the principle that a perfect God could never have created an imperfect creation. Do men gather figs of thistles? The imperfection we see, and idolize by giving it power, is not of God. We are born again by accepting our perfection, as God’s full image and likeness, which is NOT the sinning mortal self that we seem to be. Does this mean that the mortal sinner we seem to be is God’s man? No, the mortal sinner is the “old man” that is to be put off for the perfect, immortal self that we can now claim and know only spiritually, through listening to and hearing the Word of God. And as we work out our perfection, it will one day be fully manifested unto us: the full ccrn comes at last. As we are working it out, we graduallly forsake and lose all the false manifestations of sin, sickness and death in our lives, which the old man adamantly believes are insurmountable, necessary and God-made realities.

    • Lance

      Chubby, would you consider yourself to be a good person?

    • Sorry Chubby, she did not get it right, and you got it all wrong on this subject. Your position simply does not have a Scriptural leg to stand on. The mind over matter theory is a fallacy.

      • Barbara LeFevre


        To arrive at Eddy’s conclusions on every doctrine of Christianity, one would have to dismiss the entire Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation. To say that “We are born again by accepting our perfection” is to totally ignore the consequences of sin and death that came into the world through Adam and Eve’s rebellion, the entire history of Israel and the Gentile world documented in the OT, and every verse that contradicts this heresy in the NT, some of which are Romans 3:23, 5:6, 8, 6:23; Ephesians 2:1; I Corinthians 15:3; II Corinthians 5:14; and Colossians 2:13. In other words, there is NO perfection to realize.

        May I suggest that you allow the Word of God to speak its truth to you? I will praying for you.


    • Jerry S.

      Boy Chubby, if you don’t think what you wrote to be the language of a cult … just what would you consider the language of a cult to be??

  • Kent

    Barbara LeFevre

    matt 4:17 – Jesus was telling His listeners that the physical kingdom of heaven was at hand. He quoted Isaiah 9:1-7 which is a prophecy of a physical kingdom in which Jesus would rule. He was telling them that this physical kingdom was at hand. Prior to this Jesus had been tempted by Satan offering Him the (physical) kingdoms of the world.

    Mark 1:14-15 – In Mark’s gospel Jesus tells those who are listening to “repent and believe the gospel.” In both kingdoms it necessary to repent but only in the kingdom of God is a person required to believe the gospel. There are no verses linking the kingdom of heaven with believing the gospel.

    Matt 11:12 Jesus states the kingdom of heaven suffers violence. Luke 16:16 have people pressing in. If both verses are the same how does the kingdom of God suffer violence as opposed to people pressing into it from hearing the gospel? Israel was suffering under the violent tyranny of the Roman empire as well as the oppressive acts of the ruling classes of the day. Also I am not reading where violent people are pressing into the kingdom of God and the non-violent are violently taking the kingdom of heaven.

    These are just several of the verse you mentioned. If you want I will respond to the others.

    Thanks for your input. I enjoyed it.

    Do well – you are God’s own.
    200 years from now we will all look back on this and laugh.

    • Barbara LeFevre


      Thank you for your response. I don’t have the time right now to answer your specific concerns on each of the examples you gave. I could probably have something by tomorrow if you want to check back. However, I do have a few thoughts to share that should guide all believers when seeking the truth of God’s Word. We are told that there are no contradictions in God’s Word (II Tim. 3:16), and we are told that God is not the author of confusion (I Cor. 14:33). What these verses mean in regard to whether the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven are the same thing is, simply, they either are or they are not. In other words, if it can be shown that even one of the examples I cited absolutely proves that they are the same (e.g. Matt. 5:3/Lk. 6:20), then it follows that all the examples are the same because, if not, the only alternative is that Scripture is both contradictory and confusing, a biblical impossibility. God isn’t going to give an scenario or an example in which they are synonymous and then give another in which they aren’t. What this means is that it has to be shown that each pair of examples I cited is wrong. If this can’t be done, then there is obviously another way that we are to look at the examples that you gave.

      I appreciate your bringing up these examples because they become points of study for me.

      God bless you!

      • Kent

        Barbara –

        God is not the author of confusion. God is the same today, yesterday and forever.
        God is love.

        For those who wish not to enter into salvation through Jesus Christ will often

        attack the Bible and the character of God. One method that is used is to ask the

        question if God is so good and loving than why all the death and destruction at His

        hand, will, command, etc.? If God is love and so powerful Why allow so many innocent

        lives to be lost today? These if asked in an earnest desire to know are legitimate questions.

        Just because something in the Bible looks or reads to be contradictory truly isn’t.

        There must be a reason.

        Matt. 5:3 starts the beatitudes. The word poor means a pauper or beggar who is so dependent upon the good will of those from whom he was begging alms. Laying prostate. This was or is not an attitude or a position to be attained.

        The word spirit in this verse means the rational soul not the Holy Spirit.

        In reading the beatitudes the kingdom of heaven, the physical kingdom, Jesus was offering to those who were in great need the answer to and the fulfillment of their desires. All that was required was for them to repent.

        Luke 6:20 is the start of the beatitudes for the kingdom of God. This is the second time Jesus spoke concerning the beatitudes. Again the poor is the same Greek word used in Matt. 5:3. I think that one of the reasons Jesus used this word is given in Matt 19:24. The rich find it very difficult to accept Jesus, to accept salvation. They are very dependent and trusting in their riches. Not so with the poor. I can well imagine that there are more poor or not so wealthy people in heaven than the rich.

        Also if you read Luke’s account Jesus say’s “Blessed are you who hunger ‘now’… .”
        The word now is used as a current event. He speaks of ‘you’ as an individual. In

        Matt. account He relates it as a future event for a group of people.

        Again I enjoyed it.

        Do good you are His own.

        • Barbara LeFevre


          I have some things for you to consider, but I won’t be able to post my response until later today.


        • Barbara LeFevre


          I appreciate your responding, but I am a little bewildered at the first half of your post because it doesn’t seem to have any relevance to our dialogue. Have I missed something? Also, your comment that “Just because something in the Bible looks or reads to be contradictory truly isn’t” is, if I filled in the blanks correctly (I think you left some words out), most certainly true, but because of our individual viewpoints on whether the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven are the same, that would be a comment that I would make, not you. ☺

          ~It is your view that because Matthew is speaking of a “future event for a group of people” while Luke’s account is about a “current event” for “an individual” that this means that they are speaking about two different kingdoms, but that really isn’t necessarily so. As you, yourself, wrote, “Just because something in the Bible looks or reads to be contradictory truly isn’t,” which applied to this example means that just because two scenarios differ in number and tense doesn’t automatically mean that the place to which is being referred is different. It could be that they are just two different explanations of the same thing.

          ~Another point of consideration is, if they are not the same, why would Matthew have been the only NT writer to address the kingdom of heaven? Given that they, according to you, are two completely separate kingdoms, this seems a little odd, don’t you think?

          ~If the kingdom of God is, as you believe, referring to the “individual,” then why is Matthew 21:42-43 clearly referring to a group, the nation of Israel?

          ~How does your viewpoint stand in light of Matthew 19:23-24 in which both phrases are used and no distinction is made between the two? In addition, the exact same truth is being put forth except that in the second verse, Jesus gives an analogy to drive home the point.

          ~Why is the idea being put forth in Matthew 19:23-24, which uses both phrases, also the exact idea being put forth in Luke 18:24-25, which uses only kingdom of God, and no distinction is made?

          ~If you look up kingdom (of heaven) as it is used in Matthew 5:3 and kingdom (of God) as it is used in Luke 6:20 in the BLB concordance, you will see, at least for these two verses, that they both fall under point “3) used in the N.T. to refer to the reign of the Messiah.” Clicking onto the corresponding entry in Thayer’s, you will find the Matthew verse under point e6, which says, “Further, the foll. expressions are noteworthy: of persons fit for admission into the divine kingdom…” The Luke verse is under 5d, which says, “of its blessings and benefits whether present or future.” (I hope I got the ‘outline’ numbers right. It can be confusing sometimes.)

          ~As I was doing this research, I clicked on the Vine’s link and did find that the two phrases, kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven, are not always synonymous, so please forgive me on that; I was wrong. You can go on this link and see what you think, but what I got out of it was that when these terms are used in reference to a place, which I believe was the point of your posts, they are synonymous, but that there are other instances when they are not the same. One example cited was that “The Apostle Paul often speaks of the Kingdom of God, not dispensationally but morally, e.g., in Rom 14:17; 1Cr 4:20, but never so of the Kingdom of Heaven.” You can read the whole explanation, but what it boils down to is that “The Kingdom of Heaven is always the Kingdom of God, but the Kingdom of God is not limited to the Kingdom of Heaven, until in their final form, they become identical; e.g., Rev 11:15, RV; Jhn 3:5; Rev 12:10.”

          Apparently, I will have to do some more studying on this topic. I’d like to know what you think.

          Yours in Christ~

          • Kent

            In a round about way and poorly written I was in agreement with what you said. A lot got lost in the translation.
            You are right there can be two different explanations of the same thing. But I would ask that you look at the wording or the words used. When you read Matt 21: 42-43 also read v. 23. Who was Jesus addressing concerning the two parables? Was it not the chief priests and the elders and not the people who were watching and listening? The leaders also acknowledge that Jesus was referencing them v25, v45.
            Again the Kingdom of God is an individual experience, individually obtained. In v43 Jesus said that it would be taken “from you” the individual and given to “a nation.” What nation is that? I believe that it the gentile nation more specifically the church. So how does someone become a member of the church? Is it through group belief or through each person accepting Jesus Christ individually for themselves?
            In regards to Matt. 19:23-24 that it refers to both kingdoms very true. Based upon those verses as well as 1 Tim 6:17 and James 5:1 I think that those who are wealthy, those who are rich have a very difficult time in trusting in anything else but their riches and the power and prestige that it brings. That is not to say that all rich people are this way but it seems that more of the poor in spirit or the poor in wealth are rich in faith. This maybe a stretch but look who mostly flocked to Jesus. Was in not women who came to him and supported him as well as the sick, weary and poor. Nicodemus and Joseph or Aremathia (sp?) being at least two exceptions.
            You are right again concerning the use of the word “kingdom” and Jesus reigning found in Matt. and Luke’s gospels. I also agree with that the kingdom of God is a moral “state”. I am a dispensationalist (sp)(which if you’re not would take a whole lot of discourse in “proving” our points and of course we know who would be right :> can’t find the smiley face on my keyboard just kidding). And the kingdom of heaven is not such a moral “state.” During the millinum (sp) Jesus will be reigning in Jerusalem over Israel (kingdom of heaven.) It will not be one of peace and harmony. People will die and there is resistance to Jesus’ rule and at the end there is a last rebellion. So at the end of the millinium (sp) there is the coming together of both kingdoms which ultimately become the Fathers kingdom. I hope this is not as muddy as my other comment.
            As usual it was great. I enjoyed the research etc. thanks.

            Do right for you are His own

  • I value the different interpretations, which are argued quite well. However, I am puzzled why no one has made reference to the natural example of Christ. Why do you suppose He underwent a physical water baptism? And the Eunuch’s baptism,Acts 8:36 “here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
    Do you know that in Judaism, there is entering of water, with similar connotations of Christianity. Which is not surprising that many see the passing of the Israelites through the Red Sea as a Baptism! One of the most beautiful and ecstatic feature of the Bible that the message of the gospel is so simple that the simplest of minds can understand and fall in love with Jesus’ and yet the stories sufficiently complex to captivate the minds of intellectuals! Keep it simple. Jesus did it. Why should I not? Why do we insist to do life my way? What’s in us that pushes us to pontificate an alternate gospel? Steve’s commentary offers a cautionary tale of doing yet in rebellion (Matt 7:21-23)… Loving you all respectfully, but be very clear, Salvation is not ‘my will, as if we are doing our Father a favour, but His will be done! Great Blessings all.

  • Tom Roberson

    Maybe the Thief was baptized. – In reality.
    The thief on the cross may have been the first person to “actually” have been baptized into Jesus’ death. All other baptisms have been a “likeness” of what the thief “actually” did. Paul when explaining baptism to the Romans says:
    (Rom 6:3-5 KJV) “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? {4} Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. {5} For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection”

    The thief after a change of heart believed in Jesus and then “actually” died on the cross and was raised with Jesus in paradise. This is an actual baptism. We are baptized figuratively into Jesus death.

    However, Paul reminds us – first things first. (1 Cor 15:3-4 NIV) For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, {4} that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

    A Fortunate Sinner, Tom Roberson.
    Saved from Hell and Bound for Heaven
    By the GRACE of GOD and BLOOD of JESUS

  • steve morrow

    Luke 23:40
    But the other answering rebuked him saying
    Dost not thou fear GOD seeing thou art in the same damnation

    Proverbs 1:7
    The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge
    But fools despise wisdom and instruction

    Proverbs 8:13
    The fear of the LORD is to hate evil
    Pride and arrogancy and the evil way and the froward mouth I do hate

    Psalm 19:2
    The judgements of the LORD are true and righteous altogether

    Matthew 20:8&9
    So when evening was come the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward call the laborers and give them their hire beginning
    from the first to the last
    (9)And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour
    they received every man a penny

    Romans 2:6&7
    Who will render unto every man according to his works
    (7) To them who by patient —CONTINUANCE—IN WELL DOING—
    seek for glory and honor and immortality—ETERNAL LIFE—

    Matthew 9:37:38
    Then saith He unto HIS disciples the harvest truly is plenteous
    But the laborers/workers are few
    (38)Pray ye therefore the LORD of harvest that he will send workers into HIS HARVEST


  • This statement: “Jesus was not talking about water baptism when he used the term “born of water”.”

    What exactly are you saying? Not coming against you, I would just like some further insight.

    Thank you.

    • Keith

      Jesus was definitely talking about water baptism. Why even bring being born again of water up if it had already happened in amniotic fluid. The point would be mute. Mans 1st birth had blood, water and spirit….so being born again would need these same elements as John pointed out…these 3 agree in one. One born again experience! The 1st born again people were waiting in Jerusalem as instructed by Jesus and had the born again experience in acts 2:38, as well as all other examples in acts. I wish people were more concerned with following the word and examples given than trying to figure out a loop hole around it. There wants be any at judgement. Obedience has always been Gods way from the OT to the NT, man has always tried to change it to his own way.

      • Barbara LeFevre


        You made the comment, “I wish people were more concerned with following the word and examples given than trying to figure out a loop hole around it.” I couldn’t agree with you more, and that is why we know that being born of water is not water baptism. To use your criteria, “the word and the examples given,” verse 6 tells us exactly what Jesus was referring to in verse 5 as “born of water.” Using parallelism, He equates being “born of water” to our natural birth when He says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh….”

        Have a blessed day~

        • Barbara, you’re “spot on”.I,also,believe that EVERYDAY we must “crucify” the flesh,[drink from the same cup],Matt.20:22-23a; and die daily,1Cor.15:31.It’s an every day thing of being bapitized into His death.

  • steve morrow

    1 Corinthians 2:14
    —BUT THE NATURAL MAN—receiveth not the things of the spirit of GOD
    neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned

    Matthew 24:11-13
    And many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many
    (12)And because iniquity shall abound the love of many shall wax cold

    —-1 CORINTHIANS 2:12&13—-
    Now we have received not the spirit of the world but the spirit which is of GOD that we might know the things which are freely given to us of GOD
    (13)—WHICH THINGS WE ALSO SPEAK—not in the words which
    —MANS WISDOM TEACHETH— but which the holy spirit teacheth
    comparing spiritual things with spiritual

    1 Corinthians 10:2-4
    And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea
    (3)And did all eat the same spiritual meat
    (4) And did all drink the spiritual drink

    John 6:63
    It is the spirit that quickeneth

    Proverbs 1:23
    Turn you at MY reproof

    Proverbs 3:7
    and HE shall direct thy paths

    Isaiah 55:8
    For MY thoughts are not your thoughts

    Acts 8:20
    But Peter said unto him thy money perish with thee
    Because thou hast thought that the gift of GOD may be purchased with money

    Isaiah 55:1&2
    Ho every one that thirsteth come ye to the waters
    and he that hath no money come ye and buy and eat
    yea come buy wine and milk —WITHOUT MONEY AND WITHOUT PRICE—
    (20 Wherefore do you spend money for that which is not bread
    And your labor for that which sastisfieth not
    —HEARKEN DILIGENTLY UNTO ME—and eat that which is good and let your soul delight itself in fatness

    Proverbs 2:6
    out of HIS mouth cometh knowledge and understanding

    Romans 16:25&26
    Now to HIM that is of power to establish you according to my gospel and —THE PREACHING OF JESUS CHRIST—

    (26)But now is made manifest

    Romans 16:27


  • Diane Smith

    Jesus Christ is Lord!

  • Steve B

    Ok, since this is a topic that has long interested me, I have to ask….Some preface first…..
    I agree that the New Birth is not a new concept. It does however appear to be one that many do not grasp, nor do many appear to be aware of its origins.
    In looking at the posts above, Steve Morrow is the only one who came even close to touching it, but stopped short of the whole passage.
    I.e., Ezekiel 36:25-27.
    It is not however the only one. 3 times in Ezekiel does God tell him that He will give us a new heart. 11:19, 18:31 , and 36:25-27.
    We then see the concept alluded to with King Saul, when he was told of his father’s donkey’s being found. 1 Sam 10:6. He would become a new man.

    My question would be– how come we (Modern Day “born againers”) appear to have missed this, and pass over it as though it has no bearing on what it is that has taken place, and is taking place in our hearts, and lives?

    To me, this explains, in part, what happened to Adam that day in the garden, how his spirit died when he disobeyed God, and a picture of our need for restoration to God. In my mind, this passage is like a key that opens so many passages that previously eluded my understanding.

    Check this out. In my mind, this is incredible. Ok, forget incredible– it’s awesome to the nth-degree, and then some.

    “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
    “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
    “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do [them].

    6 distinct times God says– I WILL…..

    Then sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean

    cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.

    give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;

    take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

    take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

    put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes……

    A couple of these could even be doubled.
    New heart & New spirit.
    remove old heart, be given a new heart.

    Which would in fact make it 8 times– for those numerological folks who get tweaked by #’s.

    I remember the first time I saw this, and still do to this day, I thought/think it is by far and above the best, and most complete description of the new birth ever yet provided. Even over Paul’s descriptions in his letters.

    In fact, in my mind, it’s the only thing that causes Jesus’ response to Nicodemus to make sense in my mind. John 3:9-10.

    Some thoughts/responses here would really be appreciated.
    Grace and Peace be with you.
    In Christ.

  • I think we are focusing too much on the “WORKS” thing and not focusing on that the blood of Jesus was/is enough to cleanse us from ALL sin.[1John 1:7] Why is it, in Romans 10 that it DOES NOT include water baptisim to be a requirement to be saved??,also, why did Paul say that in 1Cor.1:17 that Christ sent him NOT to baptize if this was so…. important to be saved?? The flesh IS NOT what is born again,but, rather your spirit. If water baptisim can cleanse us from sin,then,we have no need for our Saviour.

    • Steve B

      Hi Beth.
      I think it’s important to recognize that “works” are the FRUIT of our faith, not the cause of it.
      It goes back to the idea of– because I believe that the key will work, I place that key in the lock, and turn the key.
      Eph. 2:10 is just one of many such references. Another is Titus 2:11-14, and yet another still is 1 John 3:16-20. Another still is 2 Peter 1:2-12.
      Each of these do indeed discuss our works– as an outworking of what we believe.
      The works in and of themselves mean nothing. As Paul tells the Philippians in chapter 3– what was gain to him he considered rubbish for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ.
      And it’s not about the level of sincerity one has.
      It’s about Who God is, and His motivation to fulfill his Word to those who believe Him. It’s about His nature, and character.

  • steve morrow


    1 Corinthians 15:34
    Awake to righteousness and sin not
    For some have not the knowledge of GOD
    I speak this to your shame

    Hebrews 2:1
    Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard lest at any time we should let them slip

    —ROMANS 10:3—
    For they being ignorant of GODS righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of GOD

    1 John 2:28&29
    And now little children—ABIDE IN HIM—that when HE shall appear we may have confidence and not be —ASHAMED—before HIM at HIS coming
    (29)IF you know that HE is righteous you know that everyone that doeth righteousness is of HIM

    1 John 3:10
    In this the children of GOD are manifest and the children of the devil—-WHOSOEVR DOETH NOT RIGHTEOUSNESS—IS NOT OF GOD—
    neither he that loveth not his brother

    Proverbs 8:8
    All the words of —MY—mouth are in righteousness
    there is nothing froward or perverse in them

    Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of GOD
    —AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS—and all these things shall be added unto you

    Matthew 5:6
    Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness
    for they shall be filled

    Matthew 5:10
    Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousnesses sake

    Philippians 1:29
    For unto you it is given in the behalf of CHRIST
    But also to suffer for HIS sake

    Acts 10:34
    Then Peter opened his mouth and said
    Of a truth I perceive that GOD is no respecter of persons

    Acts 10:35
    But in every nation he that worketh righteousness

    Psalm 119:172
    My tongue shall speak of thy word
    For all thy commandments are righteousness

    Psalm 119:144
    The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting
    give me understanding and I shall live

    Isaiah 48:1
    Hear ye this O house of Jacob which are called by the name of Israel and are come forth out of the waters of Judah which swear by the name of the LORD and make mention of the GOD of Israel —BUT NOT IN TRUTH NOR IN RIGHTEOUSNESS—

    Proverbs 8:8
    I lead in —THE WAY— of righteousness in the midst of the paths of judgement

    Proverbs 8:9
    —THAT I MAY CAUSE THOSE THAT LOVE ME—to inherit substance
    and I will fill their treasures

    Psalm 40:10
    I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation
    I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation

    Psalm 15:1&2
    Lord who shall abide in thy tabernacle who shall dwell in thy holy hill

    John 6:54
    Whoso eateth MY flesh and drinketh MY blood hath eternal life
    and I will —RAISE HIM UP—at the last day

    Psalm 119:41
    Let thy mercies come also unto me O LORD –EVEN THY SALVATION– according to thy word

    Hebrews 5:9
    And being made perfect—HE—became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey—HIM—

    Mark 8:35
    For whosoever will save his life shall lose it but whosoever shall lose his life for MY sake and the gospels the same shall save it

    2 Timothy 4:3&4
    For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine
    But after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers
    having itching ears
    (4)And they shall turn away their ears —FROM THE TRUTH—
    and shall be turned unto fables

    Acts 20:26&27
    Wherefore I take you to record this day that I am pure from the blood of all men
    (27)For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of GOD

    2 Timothy 2:15
    Study to show thyself approved unto GOD
    —A WORKMAN— that needeth not be —ASHAMED—rightly dividing the word of truth

    Psalm 119:104
    Through thy precepts I get understanding
    Therefore I hate every false way

    Proverbs 8:13
    The fear of the LORD is to hate evil
    Pride and arrogancy and the evil way and the froward mouth I do hate

    Mark 8:32&33
    And HE spake that saying openly
    And Peter took—HIM—and began to rebuke HIM
    (33)But when HE had turned about and looked on HIS disciples
    HE rebuked Peter saying


  • Lynette

    A few members of my family who said the sinners prayer and go to church did actually refuse to be baptized in water as the nondenominational church they went to said,”it does not matter as that is not what saves.”. Their scriptural example was the tired old thief on the cross argument. He did not have to do it and neither do I.

    The Word does not always need to be super spiritualized to fit every wind of doctrine. The Word of God is simple and practical. When those who don’t want to be baptized in water or who demean it as a useless teaching to be disregarded or not relevant to the commands and teaching of Jesus hang on a cross next to Jesus or are in some other precarious situation that precludes their obedience to His commands,then may they be exempt from obedience to Jesus’ commands. Other than a situation blocking obedience such as hanging on the cross ,imminent death,imprisonment in dry jail cell,etc. get baptized! Jesus did it and He taught it no commanded it. Just do it! What kind of rebellious spirit would teach or advocate such disobedience and rejection of what Jesus clearly commanded? I don’t believe baptism saves,but a rebellious spirit to His first simple command makes me wonder if the person really is saved. What rebellious super spiritualized arrogance some of our non denominational evangelical churches teach.