Four Hidden Mysteries of John 3:16 | Telecasts | Tomorrow's World

Four Hidden Mysteries of John 3:16

Four Hidden Mysteries of John 3:16

Find out how John 3:16 is so much more than just a memory verse in this careful examination of the golden verse. Comparing other scriptures, learn who God is, how He shows love, what perish means, and being born again.

[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]

Introduction: One of the Most Well-Known Scriptures—Misunderstood!

One of the best-known verses in the Bible is John 3:16! Zealous professing Christians have tried to publicize this scripture with large banners at nationally televised football games, and even on large boulders and billboards along the highway.

This famous verse holds out awesome hope to all human beings whom God is calling. But few, even professing Christians, really understand the depth of truth enclosed in this profound statement. Jesus Himself stated this truth in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Hidden in this famous verse are eight vital spiritual truths. But for most people, they are eight hidden mysteries.

Why?

Because they read this verse based on human traditions rather than Christian doctrines based on the Bible! You can learn more about the eight hidden mysteries of John 3:16, in our free study resource: John 3:16, Hidden Truths of the Golden Verse. Be sure to write down the contact information to order your free copy.

Would a God who loved the world condemn His creations to eternal suffering in hell-fire? How could that be fair?

And if God let Jesus die so believers would not perish, where did we get the idea that the wicked would not perish but instead would live in eternal pain? And, most importantly, what does it mean to have everlasting life as a born-again follower of Jesus Christ?

On today’s program you need to understand four mysteries of John 3:16.

Stay tuned!

Who Is the God of the Bible?

One of the most profound truths of your Bible is stated in John 3:16. It’s called “The Golden Verse” of the Bible.

We need to seek its truth. But there are so many different interpretations and beliefs, even among professing Christians. Listen to this amazing fact: The World Christian Encyclopedia identifies at least 33,000 Christian denominations, with 9,000 of them classified as “Protestant” and 22,000 as “Independents.” These thousands of denominations disagree among themselves in many of their doctrines, teachings, and beliefs.

Yet they can’t all be right!

Could it even be that many believe in a false Jesus Christ who is not the Jesus of the Bible? Jesus Himself warned us in Matthew 24:24 that “false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Since these thousands of denominations teach varying doctrines, could it be that many believe in a counterfeit Christianity?

There are many differing beliefs concerning the nature and existence of God. So, let’s consider the first hidden mystery of John 3:16,

Who is the God who loved the world?

How is He described in the Bible? If you have your Bible, turn to Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Evangelist Gerald Weston, author of the free study resource we’re offering today, states this:

The first place the term “God” is used in scripture (Genesis 1:1), it comes from the Hebrew Elohim, a plural word. The plurality of God is affirmed in verse 26: “Then God [Elohim] said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…’” (p. 4).

Notice “Us”—that’s plural. But God is also one. What does your Bible reveal about the relationship of Jesus Christ and God the Father? We read in Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” And Jesus stated, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30).

So, we need to answer the question, “In what way is God ‘one’?” Mr. Weston answers that question:

On the night in which He was betrayed, Jesus was on earth, and He prayed to His Father in heaven. Note these clear words about oneness found in this prayer: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one” (John 17:20–21). So we see that He wants us all to be one, but in what way? So “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one; I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one” (vv. 21–23) (John 3:16, Hidden Truths of the Golden Verse, pp. 5–6).

As we’ll see later in the program, God is preparing a Family. Born-again Christians will become part of that Family at the First Resurrection. Even now, Christians after baptism receive the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit.

We all need the gift of the Holy Spirit of God, the power of God, as Jesus stated in Acts 1:7–8 and as the Apostle Peter exhorted in Acts 2:38. We thank God that He will give repentant sinners the gift of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of “power and of love and of a sound mind” as it tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7.

Yes, God is the father “from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Ephesians 3:15).

My friends, pray that you also can have God as your Father. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father in Matthew 6:9.

We’ve seen that God the Father and Jesus Christ are one. They are the two beings right now in the One God Family. In fact, God the Father is the father “from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Ephesians 3:15). And faithful Christians will join them when they are born again, as we’ll see later in this program.

God Is Building a Family—Not Burning It!

Now turn to John chapter 11. We saw that the Father and Jesus Christ are now members of that one family. As the Apostle John taught us in John 1:14,

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

And it was that Jesus, the Son of God, who poured out the Holy Spirit on the disciples in Acts 2:32.

“This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.”

My friends, you need the Holy Spirit, as we’ll discuss later in this program.

Another hidden truth and mystery of John 3:16 is the answer to the question: Is God fair? Hidden Mystery Number Two: “Is God fair?”

When you come to really understand the awesome unconditional eternal love that the Creator God has for human beings, you’ll understand that every human being will have a genuine opportunity for salvation. And this introduces this second hidden truth.

Many professing Christians have a wrong idea that God will burn billions of people in hellfire forever, simply because He arranged for them to be born and die without ever hearing the name of Christ or the gospel of Christ.

Is that fair?

In Chapter Three of today’s free booklet, Evangelist Gerald Weston writes,

The Apostle John taught plainly that “God so loved the world” (John 3:16). Here, “the world” is not a reference to planet Earth, but rather to the people who dwell here. And, no matter how you count it, by any reckoning there have always been far more “unsaved” than “saved.” So, if God “loved the world,” how can this be? Is He so weak that He cannot save the majority of His creation? This leads to the question, “Is God fair? Is He a respecter of persons? Has everyone—or will everyone—have a genuine and fair opportunity for salvation?” (pp. 17–18).

Bible students know that salvation comes only through the name of the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ. As it tells us in Acts 4:12,

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

My friends, God has a plan for those who never heard the name of Jesus Christ.

Hidden Mystery Number Two is: “Is God fair?”

God will not condemn those who never heard the name of Christ as many in traditional Christianity believe. Ask your minister or priest this question: If a tribe of people in a remote jungle never heard the name of Jesus Christ, never accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, will they be condemned to hellfire when they die? You may be shocked by the answer.

Your Bible reveals that God will give such people an opportunity for salvation in the Second Resurrection to judgment. That’s described in Revelation 20:11–13. Turn in your Bible to Revelation 20:11. God reveals to us the Great White Throne Judgment. This judgment takes place after the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth. These are the “rest of the dead” mentioned in verse 5. This is the second general resurrection from the dead. Revelation 20:11,

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God….”

If the dead are now standing before God, they have been resurrected. You find a description of this resurrection to physical life in Ezekiel 37—the valley of dry bones comes to life.

Now, continuing in Revelation 20:12,

“… and books were opened.”

The original Greek word for books is biblia, from which we derive the word Bible. Let’s continue,

“And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.”

In the White Throne Judgment, billions of people who never heard the name of Christ will have their first genuine opportunity for salvation. That resurrection to judgment may include friends and relatives you may have thought were lost forever.

What Does It Mean to Perish—And to Be “Born Again”?

Hidden Mystery Number One we’ve discussed is, “Who is the God who loved the world?” Our Hidden Mystery Number Two is, “Is God fair?” Our Hidden Mystery Number Three is very important for understanding God’s truth: “What is the biblical meaning of ‘perish’?”

My friends, God is the Giver of life, the Creator of all things—He is the Life-giver. Turn to Acts 17. In verse 26, the Apostle Paul reveals God’s desired relationship with all of us.

“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring’” (Acts 17:26–28).

Since God is the giver of life, what does it mean to “perish”? Many assume that they will never perish! They believe the pagan doctrine of the immortal soul. They believe that their so-called immortal soul will not perish at death. But Gerald Weston writes in his informative free booklet on John 3:16,

Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary defines perish as “To be destroyed; to pass away; to become nothing… to die” (“Perish,” Websters1913.com). We know what it means when food perishes. We speak of people perishing in a plane crash. So, when it comes to the biblical matters, why do people push other, incorrect meanings onto perish?

The Bible consistently and unambiguously agrees with the standard dictionary definition of “perish”! It clearly teaches that life and death are opposites! Nowhere does Scripture ever describe human life as being inherently immortal. As we have already seen, even the soul—whatever one may think it is—can die (Ezekiel 18:4, 20).

God’s word reveals that immortality is not something we already have, but rather that it is something we must seek (Romans 2:6–7) and “must put on” (1 Corinthians 15:53–54) (p. 50).

The Bible plainly reveals that only God has immortality (1 Timothy 6:16) and that immortality is something we must put on in the future (1 Corinthians 15:53).

God’s purpose is to save us from eternal death, to save us from perishing. But Scripture tells us that those who seal their character with evil will perish in the lake of fire. Read that in Revelation 21:7,

“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

The incorrigibly wicked will perish in the lake of fire. They will be punished with the second death from which there is no resurrection. That’s the punishment of eternal death. As it states in Romans 6:23,

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We don’t already have immortality. Eternal life is a gift of God. Thus we see the contrast between traditional Christianity and biblical Christianity. Traditional Christianity teaches that we have an immortal soul that will always live and never perish or never cease to exist. Biblical Christianity teaches that unrepentant sinners will perish in a lake of fire, experience the second death—eternal death—and cease to exist.

But the good news is that those who truly believe in the Jesus Christ of the Bible, who repent and are baptized as it states in Acts 2:38, and remain faithful, will not perish, they will be given the gift of eternal life. The Third Hidden Mystery we’ve discussed today is: “What is the biblical meaning of ‘perish’?” My friends, will you personally perish?

Our Savior revealed that those who genuinely live by John 3:16, shall “not perish, but have everlasting life.”

We’ve briefly discussed three hidden mysteries of John 3:16. Our Hidden Mystery Number Four is: “You Must Be Born Again.” In fact, chapter five of our free study resource today is titled, “You Must Be Born Again.” Most professing Christians are familiar with the story of Nicodemus the Pharisee, who came to Jesus by night and admitted that Jesus was sent from God. Jesus told him,

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

The common belief is that if you accept Jesus in your heart as your Savior, you are at that moment “born again.” But what did Jesus tell the dumbfounded Pharisee?

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (vv. 5–6).

Conclusion: Begotten of God—Baptism and Repentance Are Only the Beginning

One simply needs to ask the question, “Am I spirit or am I flesh?” Physical Christians will be changed into spirit at the resurrection. Read about the miraculous change at the first general resurrection: 1 Corinthians 15:50,

“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (vv. 50–54).

That is the time Jesus referred to when He said, “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Mr. Weston explains the context of Jesus’ statement in chapter five of the study resource we’re offering today, John 3:16: Hidden Truths of the Golden Verse. We must understand, as in the human begettal and birth process, the difference between the words “begotten” and “born.”

Mr. Weston writes on page 34,

Why does this matter generate such confusion? In this passage of Scripture, the word translated as “born” is the Greek word gennao. Translators, knowing Greek but not understanding the doctrinal implications, variously render this unusual word into English as “born,” “beget,” “begot,” or “conceive.” This seemingly small detail can lead to confusion and result in significant misunderstandings, especially about the concept of being “born again.”

When we receive God’s Holy Spirit at baptism, we become God’s begotten child. In spite of the translators’ bias, the word gennao is correctly translated in 1 Peter 1:3,

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you….”

Our Father in heaven begets us as His children, and as such we love all of God’s begotten children.

Yes, to be born again, you must first be begotten at baptism.

My friends, I pray that you will consider repentance and baptism and begin your spiritual life as a begotten son or daughter of God Almighty and as a brother or sister of [Jesus] Christ as He referred to us in Matthew 12:50 and Hebrews 2:11.

If you are considering repentance and biblical baptism, contact one of our representatives at the Regional Office nearest you. You can find them on our website, TomorrowsWorld.org.

Hidden Mystery Number Four is: “You must be born again.”

On today’s program, we’ve discussed four hidden mysteries of John 3:16. But we’ve only scratched the surface.

May God bless you as you seek His truth in the pages of your Bible.

Thank you for watching!

My friends, there are more hidden truths in John 3:16 that billions of human beings around the world do not understand. If you would like to discover them for yourself, just click the link in the description to order a free copy of our study guide John 3:16: Hidden Truths of the Golden Verse. And remember to subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss another Tomorrow’s World video.

See you next time!


Four Hidden Mystery of John 3:16

  1. Who is the God who loved the world?
  2. Is God fair?
  3. What is the biblical meaning of ‘perish’?
  4. You must be born again.

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John 3:16

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