Mat 19:27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? Mat 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Mat 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. Mat 19:30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Also relevant:

Luk 22:28  Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.  Luk 22:29  And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;  Luk 22:30  That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

It seems to me it either means the reemergence of Israel as a nation, under the new Davidic king (messiah) some time in the future, or possibly the new heavens and the new earth wherein righteousness dwells in the whole world under the kingship of God (with Jesus as the everlasting king of Israel).


παλιγγενεσία, ας, ἡ (Plut., Mor. 722d does not, as some have affirmed, assign the use of this word to Democritus [Fgm. 158 Diels]; it is found in Neanthes [200 B.C.]: 84 Fgm. 33 Jac.; Memnon [I B.C./I A.D.]: 434 Fgm. 1, 40, 2 Jac.; Cicero, Ad Attic. 6, 6, also a t.t. of the Pythagoreans and Stoics [EZeller, Philosophie der Griechen I5 1892, 442; III 14 1902, 158; HDiels, Doxographi Graeci 1879, p. 469, 11ff] as well as of the Mysteries of Dionysus [Orph. Fragmente 205 p. 225 OKern 1922] and of Osiris [Plut., Mor. 389a; also 364f; 379f; 438d; 996c; 998c; cp. Lucian, Musc. Enc. 7]. It is found in the Herm. Wr. [3, 3; 13, 1 ὁ τῆς παλιγγενεσίας λόγος; 13, 3 al.—JKroll, Die Lehren des Hermes Trismegistos 1914, 360ff; Prümm 559–61]; IDefixWünsch 4, 18 ὁ θεὸς ὁ τῆς παλινγενεσίας Θωβαρραβαυ; PLond 878 δῶρον παλινγενεσίας; Philo, Cher. 114, Poster. Caini 124, Leg. ad Gai. 325; Jos., Ant. 11, 66) ① state of being renewed, w. focus on a cosmic experience, renewal ⓐ after the Deluge (so Philo, Mos. 2, 65, but the idea of the παλιγγενεσία of the κόσμος is gener. Stoic and originated w. the Pythagoreans: M. Ant. 11, 1, 3; Philo, Aet. M. 47; 76) Νῶε παλ. κόσμῳ ἐκήρυξεν 1 Cl 9:4. ⓑ of the renewing of the world in the time of the Messiah, an eschatol. sense (Schürer II 537f; Bousset, Rel.3 280ff) ἐν τῇ παλ. in the new (Messianic) age or world Mt 19:28. ② experience of a complete change of life, rebirth of a redeemed person (cp. Heraclit., Ep. 4, 4 ἐκ παλιγγενεσίας ἀναβιῶναι; Herm. Wr., loc. cit. and PGM 4, 718 where the initiate calls himself πάλιν γενόμενος. Theoph. Ant. 2, 16 [p. 140, 9] λαμβάνειν … ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν διὰ ὕδατο καὶ λουτροῦ παλιγγενεσία): λουτρὸν παλιγγενεσίας καὶ ἀνακαινώσεως πνεύματος ἁγίου bath of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit Tit 3:5 (MDibelius, Hdb., exc. ad loc.; ESelwyn, I Pt ’46, 306f; ANock, JBL 52, ’33, 132f).—PGennrich, Die Lehre v. d. Wiedergeburt in dogmengeschichtl. und religionsgeschichtl. Beleuchtung 1907; AvHarnack, Die Terminologie der Wiedergeburt: TU 42, 3, 1918, p. 97–143; ADieterich, Eine Mithrasliturgie 1903, 157ff; Rtzst., Mysterienrel.3 indices; HWilloughby, Pagan Regeneration 1929; VJacono, La παλιγγενεσία in S. Paolo e nel ambiente pagano: Biblica 15, ’34, 369–98; JDey, Παλιγγενεσία (on Tit 3:5) ’37; JYsebaert, Gk. Baptismal Terminology, ’62, 90; FBurnett, CBQ 46, ’84, 447–70 (Philo, the rebirth of the soul into incorporeal existence).—Kl. Pauly IV 428f; BHHW III 2171f.—S. DELG s.v. πάλιν. M-M s.v. παλινγενεσία. EDNT. TW. Sv.

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 752). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

πᾰλιγγενεσία, ἡ, rebirth, regeneration, of the world, παλιγγενεσίας ἡγεμόνες. of Noah and his sons, Id.2.144; ἡ ἀνάκτησις καὶ π. τῆς πατρίδος J.AJ11.3.9; cf. Memn.40.2 J., renewal of a race, Corp.Herm.3.3; of persons, beginning of a new life, εἰς π. ὁρμᾶν Ph.1.159, cf. Luc.Musc.Enc.7: hence of restoration after exile, Cic.Att.6.6.4; transmigration, reincarnation of souls, Plu.2.998c; cf. μετεμψύχωσις fin. 2. in Stoic Philos., rebirth of the κόσμος, Chrysipp.Stoic.2.191: pl., ib. 187, Boeth.Stoic.3.265; so later, ἡ περιοδικὴ π. τῶν ὅλων M.Ant.11.1, cf. Procl.in Ti.3.241 D. 3. Medic., relapse, Gal.13.83; regrowth of a tumour, Antyll.ap.Orib.45.2.7. II. in Roman Law, = restitutio natalium, Just.Nov.18.11. III. in NT., 1. resurrection, Ev.Matt.19.28. 2. regeneration by baptism, διὰ λουτροῦ παλιγγενεσίας Ep.Tit.3.5.

πᾰλιγγενής, ές, born again, Nonn.D.2.650; generated anew, αἰών PMag.Lond.121.510.

I note this but disagree with the replacement theology it contains:

  1. The first ‘reward’ that Jesus mentions is in the new world (palingenesia, lit. ‘rebirth’; the only other New Testament use is in Titus 3:5). The word itself is more typical of Stoic philosophy than of the Jewish milieu, but it effectively conveys the Jewish eschatological hope of ‘new heavens and a new earth’ in the Messianic age (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; etc.). Jesus sees that hope fulfilled when the Son of man is enthroned as king (cf. 25:31–34, and for the language cf. 1 Enoch 62:5; 69:27–29; etc.). The thought is derived from Daniel 7, where not only are the themes of thrones, glory, judgment and kingship associated with ‘one like a son of man’ (vv. 9–14), but that kingship is also given to ‘the people of the saints of the Most High’ (vv. 22, 27). So here the followers of the Son of man share his kingship; but whereas in Daniel 7 it is Israel who thus rules over the nations, here it is Jesus’ twelve followers (see on 10:1 for the significance of the choice of twelve) who judge (probably in the Old Testament sense of ruling, Judg. 3:10, etc.) the twelve tribes of Israel. This remarkable transfer of imagery graphically illustrates the theme of a ‘true Israel’ of the followers of Jesus who take the place of the unbelieving nation, a theme which runs through much of the teaching of Jesus in this Gospel (cf. 8:11–12; 21:43). For further development of the theme of the disciples’ share in Jesus’ kingship, see 1 Corinthians 4:8; 6:2; Ephesians 2:6; Revelation 20:4. It also lies behind the request of Zebedee’s wife in 20:21.

France, R. T. (1985). Matthew: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 1, p. 291). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

KJV unless otherwise noted

  • The word is paligenesis which would imply a 'reversal begetting'. A begetting which reverses the first begetting, in other words. Strong 3824.. The only other occurrence is Titus 3:5 - 'the washing of regeneration'.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 19, 2018 at 19:55
  • Strong 3825 Palin - "again, back, once more, further, on the other hand."
    – Nigel J
    Apr 19, 2018 at 20:17
  • 'Renewal/rebirth' does not distinguish between anagenesis and paligenesis. There is a variety of expressions in the NT. 'Born from above' 'born of water and of Spirit' 'born anew'. My explanation of paligenesis defines it more closely by paying attention to the meaning of the prefix.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 19, 2018 at 20:30

3 Answers 3


This is one of those passages where the context goes a long way to define the term παλιγγενεσίᾳ as it is used in the context. This is an excellent example of a passage in which we sometimes have to look beyond the simple lexical search to see how the word is being used in the specific context. The meaning of any Bible term is ultimately defined by the context in which it is used.

There are a couple of contextual indicators that define παλιγγενεσίᾳ not as a state but as a time period.

1)First there is the preposition ἐν and the article τῇ that points to a specific time period if there are further contextual indicators in context.

2)The strongest evidence for a specific time period is the temporal conjunction ὅταν (when) that introduces an appositional phrase that defines the time period in question.

The time period will be marked by a few things:

1)The Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory Currently Jesus sits at the right hand of His Father's throne but in the age to come Jesus will sit upon His own throne as He is the ruler and judge of the earth.

2)the 12 apostles will also have a place ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. This too has not been fulfilled as it awaits a time period when the twelve apostles will sit upon a literal throne to co-reign with Christ.

I would argue that the Kingdom referred to in verses 23-24 also refer to a literal future kingdom and not a spiritual kingdom.

For those with a pre-millennial and/or dispensational hermeneutic this corresponds to the 1000 year kingdom that is found in Revelation 20. Covenant theology does not take Revelation 20 literally and I have always been curious how they explain the thrones of Matthew 19 where people are sitting upon those thrones.

  • So if the apostles are judging the twelve tribes, is this kingdom Israel? Or is Israel part of "the regeneration"?
    – Ruminator
    Apr 20, 2018 at 20:49
  • @Ruminator -- As one who employs a dispensational hermeneutic I would relate this to the kingdom promised in the Old Testament. Yes it is a kingdom promised to Israel. Entrance into the Kingdom will be the same as it has always been, by faith through grace alone. Ezekiel and Zechariah are two well known OT books that describe this literal kingdom, including the fact that David will co-reign with Christ during this kingdom.
    – Ken Banks
    Apr 20, 2018 at 20:59
  • May I trouble you to put the reference to Israel in your answer as the comments tend to go away. Thanks.
    – Ruminator
    Apr 20, 2018 at 22:40

In Matthew 19:28 what is “the regeneration”?

Peter points that they have made a different choice to that of the rich man, saying:

Mat 19:27 "Then answered Peter and said unto him,"Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? "

Jesus tells them the reward of their choice,"you will sit on thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel.

28 "And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

Regeneration or Renewal.

Matthew’s account, refers to the time when the rule of Christ and his co-rulers will bring to the earth a renewal(regeneration) of the perfect conditions enjoyed by the first humans before they sinned.( Read 2 Peter 3:13, Isaiah 65:17, 21-25, Psalm 72:16 Acts 24:15)

The verse refers to "the twelve tribes of Israel"they are those that will be judged by Jesus and his disciples on the Judgement day , when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne and gathers all the nations before him , and like the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. The sheep take the place of the unbelieving nation of Israel.Matthew 25:31-46


According to the Greek, the regeneration is the new birth and the restoration of all things.

In order to put proper meaning to the definition of the new birth, we need to make sure we understand the context of Matthew 19 leading up to verse 29.

In Matthew 19:3-10, the Pharisees confront Jesus over his Sermon on the Mount teaching about divorce. The Pharisees ask Jesus if it’s lawful (according to the Law of Moses) to divorce for any reason. The reason that the Pharisees asked, was they believed that since the Law of Moses allowed divorce, they were without sin if they divorced. Jesus never answered their question directly because the answer was obvious, the Law of Moses allowed divorce.

However, Jesus then demonstrated that just because the Law allowed divorce (because of the hardness of the hearts of men) that doesn’t mean they were without sin. Hence, His reference to the original intention of God in Genesis, one man and one woman forever. Jesus demonstrated that the Pharisees could not hide behind the Law of Moses thinking they did not sin, when in actuality, the Law of Moses allowed divorce as an act of grace to protect the woman. This context of Law/Grace is vital to understand the rest of the chapter.

The disciples, just like the Pharisees, are unable receive the truth of the grace contained in the Law of Moses, then incorrectly deduce that Jesus is stating that the allowance of God regarding divorce has been removed. In Matthew 19: 10 they conclude that it would be better not to marry (ie, since you can’t get out of it). Jesus then understanding that the disciples have not understood His teaching about God’s original intention (Law) vs God’s allowance (Grace) uses their allusion to celibacy to continue to teach on the spiritual aspects of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus launches into the parable of the eunuchs (verses 11-12). Here Jesus talking metaphorically, states that

“…and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”

Jesus is referring to the same principal as seen in Galatians 4:27 (quoting Isaiah 54:1):

“Rejoice, O barren,You who do not bear! Break forth and shout,You who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children Than she who has a husband.”

The barren women (just like the eunuch) cannot bear children on their own, they are physically unable to bear children by human works or means. The spiritual application is that he/she who cannot bring forth life via their own works, have accepted the fact that they cannot enter the Kingdom of God via their own good works but are now trusting completely in the grace and mercy of God. This is why the verse says that the barren woman should rejoice and states that the woman that is barren, births more children than the woman who has a husband. The spiritual metaphor: the OT Covenant of works births zero children and the NT Covenant of faith births children as numerous as the sand of the sea or the stars in the sky (reference to the promise to Abraham).

In verses 13 -26, we then see a stark contrast. The status of children is compared to the status of the rich man. Jesus states (see also Matthew 18:3-4) that unless you become like a child (ie, humble with no claim to any power or status of your own to save yourself) you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Again, a direct reference to Law/Works vs Faith/Grace.

In the story of the rich young ruler, the young man is completely stuck on attaining heaven by his own works. When Jesus says that he must give up everything and follow Him, the man does not understand the spiritual principal of giving up his good works and instead trust in Christ for his salvation and thinks that Jesus is just talking about his physical wealth.

Hence we see the entire chapter is a sermon on Law vs Grace.

So, when Jesus gets to verse 28 and the regeneration, He is speaking directly to the Kingdom of Heaven, where the new birth (the removal of the curse of the law) will restore all things where the Kingdom of Heaven is the eternal experience of man living by the mercy and grace of God and not by any works self righteousness. Please note the reward for “giving up everything” (giving up your own works and trusting in Christ’s work) is far greater than the wealth of the rich young man for the disciples reward includes eternal life.

  • At the outset of the sermon he specifically denies that he has any intention of compromising the Torah and instead he intends to teach the law in all its fullness. It seems to me that you are reading "grace" into the text rather than from it. For example, giving up all one has... that is clearly about leaving all to follow him as evidenced by his dealing with inquirers... "foxes have holes..."... Even in the passage I cite in the OP it lists leaving "houses and lands" etc.
    – Ruminator
    Apr 20, 2018 at 19:54
  • Completely agree that He taught the law in all it's fullness; The law allowed divorce and he did nothing to change that. He just stated that the original intention of God was one man, one woman forever. Anything else was sin. The Law then "allowed" the grace of divorce because of the hardness of the hearts of men in order to spare the woman undue hardship.
    – alb
    Apr 20, 2018 at 19:58
  • The reason that Christ taught the law in all it's fullness, was to show men that there was no way they could keep the law and they needed to turn to the grace and mercy of God. For as scripture says, "if you offend in one point of the law, you are guilty of all."
    – alb
    Apr 20, 2018 at 20:00
  • Where do the scriptures say that Jesus was teaching the law for any reason than to return his hearers to full obedience to the law?: Mat 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Mat 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
    – Ruminator
    Apr 20, 2018 at 20:10
  • Obviously, scripture does not say this explicitly. Remember, Christ taught in parables. He wants us to come to terms with our own self righteousness. I'm not arguing the truth of the verses you just quoted, I'm just trying to get you to see the "purpose" that Jesus quoted them. Nothing in the context of these verses EXCLUDES the possibility that Christ was speaking to convict the Pharisees. He wanted them to see there was no way they could live by those verses. Hence His words like, "Come to Me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest." ie, rest from all your works of the law.
    – alb
    Apr 20, 2018 at 20:18

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