T. PIERCE BROWN
The word “regeneration” comes from the Greek, palingenesia, sometimes spelled paliggenesia, from “palin,” meaning “anew” and “genesis,” meaning “beginning, begotten or born,” depending on the context.
The word is used only two times in the New Testament: Titus 3:5 and Matthew 19:28. In Titus 3:5, we are told that it is the “washing of regeneration” which saves us. This washing is the baptism of the new birth. The operating power is the Holy Spirit through the Word of Truth (John 3:5,6, James1:18, 1 Peter1:23) and the element used is water (John 3:5, Ephesians5:26, 1 Peter3:21, Acts11: 26). The word “regeneration” stands for the act of being begotten again, or for the state resulting from that act.
It is assumed by many that it stands also for a state which must begin only after Christ returns at the end of this dispensation. This assumption is not based on the meaning of the term, or a necessary conclusion from the context of any passage, but is based partly on another assumption that Matthew19:28cannot refer to this age. The assumption is based upon another assumption that the Son of man is not now sitting on the throne of His glory, and that the Apostles are not now judging the 12 tribes ofIsrael. So the meaning of the term is twisted to uphold 3 assumptions, instead of the assumptions being judged or evaluated in the light of the meaning of the terms.
The expression refers to the same condition in Matthew 19:28 as it does in Titus 3:5. The Son of Man is now sitting on the throne of His glory (Psalm 45:6, Hebrews 1:8, Hebrews 2:8, Eph. 2:22, Col. 1:13, Eph. 4:8, Acts 20:30,31,36). The Apostles are now judging the twelve tribes ofIsrael–not oldIsrael, but newIsrael(Romans2:28,29, Romans 9:6,7, Galatians3:29,4:26,6:16).
They are judging in the same sense Jesus meant in John 20:23 when He said, “Whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted,” and in Matthew 16:19, when He gave Peter the keys to the kingdom, which he used in opening the doors to the kingdom in Acts 2 and Acts 10.
Of course God has committed all final judgment to His Son (John5:22), but the Apostles “judged” through His Word (1 Cor. 5:3). We are to be judged by His Word (John12:48), but since the Apostles were to speak that word and thus have the honor in this age (the age of regeneration–the age of the new birth–the age when we can be new creatures in Christ), they were thus to have the honor of judging.
The regeneration begins at the begetting by the word (James1:18, 1 Peter1:23) and will continue along until the final restoration of all things (which is now going on) and will be finished when Jesus delivers up the kingdom to God (1 Cor.15:24,25), for that will be the end, not the beginning of the restoration of all things.