Dr. Couch, what is going on in Matthew 19:28 where Christ says that He would be with the believers in the "regeneration"?
ANSWER: The Lord is talking about the regeneration, the
receiving of salvation, in the Kingdom, "when the Son of Man sits on His
glorious throne," with "the twelve disciples sitting on twelve thrones
judging the twelve tribes of Israel." This word "regeneration" is palingenesia (the again birth) and it is used only one more time, in Titus 3:5.
That passage reads, God "saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we
have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing
of the regeneration (the again birth) and the renewing (the again newing, remaking) by the Holy Spirit."
"The again birth" or the "regeneration," by the Holy Spirit, has to do
with the New Covenant. The New Covenant was ratified by the death of
Christ and launched at Pentecost. Christ said in Luke 22:20 "This cup
which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood." His
sacrifice on the cross, the pouring out of His blood, begins the New
Covenant. The church does not fulfill this covenant but benefits by it.
The New Covenant will be fulfilled by Israel when the Kingdom begins,
and that is what is said in Matthew 19:28. In Titus 3:5, it is clear
that church saints are saved by the New Covenant, the regeneration work
of the Holy Spirit. The church is not Israel, and Israel is not the
Paul makes it clear that we today represent the New
Covenant. He says that God made us, the church saints, "adequate as
servants of a new covenant, not of the letter (of the Law), but of the
Spirit; for the letter (of the Law) kills, but the Spirit (through the
New Covenant) gives life" (2 Cor. 3:6).
Matthew 19:28 is a great
passage that proves the point. For Israel, the "regeneration" of the
New Covenant will be fulfilled in the Kingdom.
Christ refers to the regeneration coming, in John 3:3. He told Nicodemus "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (the millennial kingdom)." Born again here is two distinct words. Born happens to be part of the word "regeneration," or the verb gennao. It is an Aorist Passive Subjunctive. The action comes upon the subject. The word again here is mistranslated. It is the Greek word anothen which is better translated from above.
However, the idea, and the relationship between the two thoughts are
related. To be born again is to be born from above. This is the work of
the New Covenant carried out by the Holy Spirit! In John 3, Christ is
talking about the same thing as He is in Matthew 19:28. He is not
speaking about being born again in the church dispensation but in the
Kingdom dispensation. The Lord makes that clear. "Truly, truly, I say to
you (Nicodemus) unless one is born of water and (that is, even), the
Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (v. 5).
is not referring to water baptism but to the washing of the Spirit
which is the application of the New Covenant. Jesus is referring to
Ezekiel 36:25-27 which promises the coming work of the New Covenant.
"This I will sprinkle (slosh) clean water on you (the Jews), and you
will be clean … I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in
My statutes …" Christ chided Nicodemus that he should have known this
Ezekiel passage. He asked him, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do
not understand (know) these things?" (John 3:10). Where could Nicodemus
have known of that truth? Only from Ezekiel 36:25-27.