While the act of baptism isn't found in the Ancient Scriptures of Israel, it was indicated in type by the Israelites coming through the Red Sea. For, Paul wrote at 1 Corinthians 10:1, 2: 'All of our ancestors were under the cloud and they all passed through the sea; so, they were all baptized into Moses (because of the cloud and the sea).'
We also find baptism implied at Ezekiel 36:25-27, where we read:
'Then, I'll pour clean water upon you,
And from your filth, you'll be cleansed.
I'll also cleanse you of idols,
And put in you, a new heart.
I'll put in you, a new spirit,
And remove hearts of stone from your flesh...
I'll give you a heart made of flesh.
Then, within you, I'll put My Breath,
And make it so you can follow My rules.
Then, My decisions, you'll keep...
Yes, you will observe every one.'
At Matthew 3:11, it is recorded that John the Baptist said: 'Indeed, I baptize you in water [to show your] repentance.'
At Luke 3:3, we read: 'So, he (John the Baptist) went through all the country around the Jordan preaching a baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins.'
Mark 1:4 says: 'John was in the desert; and he came baptizing, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And virtually all those in Judea and from Jerusalem went out to be baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they openly confessed their sins.'
Acts 18:24, 25, tells us: 'Now, a Jew named Apollos (a native of Alexandria), an excellent speaker who knew the scriptures well, arrived at Ephesus. He had been taught the ways of the Lord and was aglow with the Breath [of God]. What he said and taught about Jesus was correct; but, he only knew about the baptism of John.
Acts 8:14-17: 'When the Apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria was starting to accept the word of God, they sent Peter and John there. They went [to the Samaritans] and prayed for them to receive the Holy Breath, because it hadn't come to any of them yet, although they had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. But when [Peter and John] laid their hands on them, they started to receive Holy Breath.'
Acts 19:1-7: 'When [Paul] got to Ephesus, he found some disciples, and he asked them: Did you receive the Holy Breath [of God] when you became believers? And they replied: Why, we've never even heard whether there is Holy Breath. So he asked: Then, what were you baptized in? And they said: In John's baptism. So, Paul told them: When John baptized, it was a baptism of repentance. However, he told the people to believe in the one coming after him… that is, in Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Breath [of God] came over them. Then they started speaking in different languages and prophesying.'
Acts 2:41: 'Then, those who welcomed his words were baptized, and about three thousand people were added that day.'
Acts 8:12: 'And many men and women were baptized.'
Acts 16: 15: 'And as she and her household were being baptized, she begged…'
Acts 16:32: 'Then, he and his entire family were baptized right away.'
Acts 8:36-38: 'And the eunuch said, Look! Here's some water. What's to prevent me from getting baptized? So, he commanded the chariot [driver] to stop. Then Philip and the eunuch went down to the water, and he baptized him.'
Acts 10:45-47: 'At this, all the faithful ones who were there with Peter (since they were all circumcised) were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Breath was also being poured out on people of the nations. [They recognized that this was true], because they heard them speaking in different languages, glorifying God. Then Peter asked, Can anyone forbid water to baptize these who have received the Holy Breath, the same as we have?'
Acts 18:8: 'And many of the Corinthians who heard also started believing and got baptized.'
Acts 2:38: 'Then Peter told them: Repent, and each of you get baptized in the name of Jesus the Anointed One, so your sins can be forgiven, and then you'll receive the gift of the Holy Breath.'
Acts 22:16: 'So now, why are you wasting time? Get up, get baptized, and wash your sins away by calling on his name.'
Romans 6:3-5: 'Don't you realize that all who were baptized into the Anointed Jesus were also baptized into his death? So, we were buried along with him by our baptism into his death. And just as the Anointed One was raised from the dead to the glory of the Father; we will likewise follow [him into] a new way of life. Now, if we've been buried with him in the same type of death, then we will also be resurrected.
1 Corinthians 12:13: 'Why, through the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether we are Jews or Greeks, slaves or free; and we were all made to drink from the one Spirit.'
Galatians 3:27-29: 'All who were baptized into the Anointed One have put on the Anointed One. So, there aren't any Jews or Greeks, slaves or freemen, males or females; because, you're all one in the Anointed One, Jesus. And if you are [part] of the Anointed One, you are really the seed of Abraham and heirs of the promise.'
Colossians 2:12: 'You were all buried with him when [you were] baptized, and you were all raised together by faith in what God (who raised him from the dead) has done in you.'
1 Peter 3:21: '[What that chest pictured] is now saving you too. It's Baptism. [The purpose of this baptism] isn't to get rid of fleshly filth; it's to ask God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus the Anointed One.'
John 3:5: 'Jesus replied, I tell you the truth, unless someone is born from water and [God's] Breath, he can't enter the Kingdom of God.'
John's baptism symbolized repentance over past sins. It was a way of calling people's sins to their attention and telling them to repent, so as to prepare their hearts for the coming of Jesus, the Anointed.
Jesus' baptism wasn't just for repentance for past sins. And after the he came, people were to be baptized in his name.
Everyone was baptized who recognized the truth of the words of Jesus and his Apostles.
They were baptized when they started believing and when God's Breath was being manifested in their lives.
They were baptized for these reasons::
1. To show that they had repented and for their past sins to be forgiven (Acts 2:38, 22:16, Romans 6:3-5)
2. To show that they had agreed to follow a new way of life (Romans 6:3-5)
3. To ask God for a good conscience (1 Peter 3:21).
4. To receive the gift of the Holy Breath (Acts 2:38, 8:14-17)
5. In acceptance of the fact that they may also have to share in Jesus' death (Romans 6:3-5, Colossians 2:12)
6. To be resurrected in God's Kingdom (Romans 6:3-5, John 3:5)
7. To become part of Jesus' body (1 Corinthians 12:13, Galatians 3:27-29).
It is noteworthy that baptism appears to indicate at least one's desire to be a ruler in God's Kingdom. And being 'born again' by God's Holy Breath indicates that one has been called by God and given the value of a spiritual life.
It also seems that baptism is closely linked symbolically to the anointing (with oil) that many of the ancient kings of Israel received; since, receiving God's Holy Breath is involved. Notice the parallel that Jesus himself drew at Acts 1:5: 'Because, although John baptized with water, in just a few days you will be baptized in [God's] Holy Breath.'
Is receiving God's Holy Breath part of the purpose of the baptism of all Christians? Yes, because all Christians need and can receive this blessing. So, when one is baptized in water, he or she is indicating a willingness to make the needed changes in his/her life in order to qualify for being 'chosen' by God. And receiving a 'baptism in God's Holy Breath' seems to be an indication of that God has called that person.
Note that: There are no scriptures teaching that baptism is done to symbolize simple 'dedication' of one's life to serving God. In fact, the Greek word dedication isn't found anywhere in the in the Bible when speaking of baptism. The concept of dedication (but not the word) may be found in the Greek word paratitherthoran (put aside for yourselves), which is translated herein as dedicate at 1 Peter 4:19. But, notice how the term is applied there: 'So, let those who (by God's will) are suffering dedicate themselves to the faithful Creator by doing whatever is good.'
As you can see, this scripture isn't talking about baptism, since Peter was addressing Christians who were already baptized. His point was that those to whom he was writing needed to change their way of life (after baptism, not before) and rededicate it to God by doing good things.
So, the implication of all the above, is that baptism symbolizes that a person has repented (turned away from a past life) and has been forgiven by God. Or, as Peter said (at 1 Peter 3:21); he or she has asked God for a 'good conscience.' The person is also asking God for a measure of His Holy Breath.
As you can see from the words of Acts 2:38, 22:16, and Romans 6:3-5; part of the reason for getting baptized is to admit that we are sinners and in need of God's forgiveness. So, baptism is a visible act of recognition, showing that we are sorry for our past ways and that we want God to cover over our wrongs we've committed in our past way of life, which we are agreeing to leave behind. That baptism is in fact done for this purpose, is reaffirmed by Jesus' parting words, as found at Luke 24:47, where he said: 'Then, in (my) name, [the message of] repentance for forgiveness of sins is to be preached in all the nations, starting from JeruSalem."
What Paul wrote at Romans 6:5 ('If we've been buried with him in the same type of death, then we will also be resurrected') has long been misinterpreted as meaning that no one will be resurrected unless he/she is baptized first, and this misunderstanding has led people to baptize (actually just sprinkle) newborn infants, in the irrational belief that this act will result in their resurrection should they die prematurely.
Was Paul actually saying that baptism is required for one to be resurrected? No, for he had earlier said (as recorded at Acts 24:15), 'And I have this hope in God, which they (the Pharisees) also share, that there's going to be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous.' Therefore, we must conclude that many will be resurrected (including ALL who are righteous) who were never baptized. So, what did Paul actually mean by what he wrote at Romans 6:5?
As with most misinterpretations of scriptures, the problem is caused by taking words out of context. Notice the point that Paul was trying to make to those Roman Christians in the previous verses (Romans 6:2-4): 'Since we've died to sin, how can we live in it any longer? Don't you realize that all who were baptized into the Anointed Jesus were also baptized into his death? So, we were buried together into him by our baptism into death. And just as the Anointed One was raised from the dead to the glory of the Father, we should be walking in a new way of life.'
You can see from the context that Paul was discussing much more than the need to baptize babies so they can be resurrected. He was really telling adult Christians to leave their sinful ways behind, because, by their baptism into the death of Jesus, they should have become dead to their past (sinful) way of life, and that they should thereafter 'be walking in a new way of life!' And if they did that (leave their sinful ways behind), they were assured a resurrection. So, he wasn't saying that baptism would ensure a resurrection; he was saying that being righteous was the requirement!
Of course, babies, infants, and children cannot be determined to be either righteous or unrighteous, since inexperience and living under the direction of their parents results in their not being able to establish a life's course of righteousness or unrighteousness… and they certainly have 'no old way of life' to leave behind. However, as Paul pointed out at Acts 24:15: All (except the willfully wicked) are ensured a resurrection.
Yet, notice that minor children and even unbelieving mates are considered 'holy' by God when one is a faithful believer. For, Paul wrote (at 1 Corinthians 7:14): 'Because, the wife makes [her] unbelieving husband holy, and the brother makes [his] unbelieving wife holy… otherwise, their children would be unclean; but now they are holy.' So, the children of faithful Christians are considered holy before God without the need for baptism.
'Baptize' is a Greek word that means 'to dip.' We can clearly see the difference dipping and sprinkling in the scripture found at Mark 7:3, 4, which says: 'None of the Pharisees or any of the Judeans eat unless they vigorously wash their hands (gr. nipsontai tas keiras), because they follow the traditions of the elders. Nor do they eat anything they bring from the market unless they rinse (gr. rantisitontai) it first. And they observe many other traditions that have been passed down, such as washing (gr. baptismous – 'dipping') cups, pitchers, and copper pots in water.'
So as you can see, there is no similarity between the Greek words that are rendered 'sprinkle' and 'baptize' (or dip). And when the Bible instructs us to be 'baptized,' it means to be totally covered with water… which is a proper symbol of dying to a former course of life.
Notice that Jesus said (as recorded at John 3:5): 'Unless someone is born from water and [God's] Breath, he can't enter the Kingdom of God.' Doesn't this mean that one must be baptized and receive God 's Breath or Spirit in order to be resurrected and enter 'the Kingdom of God?'
Well, remember that Paul said that there would be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. So, entering the Kingdom of God must mean something more that just being resurrected.
Recognize that Jesus was also emphasizing the need for people to live righteous lives in order for them to enter the Kingdom of God. And he again spoke of this (as recorded at Matthew 25:34), where those he said that the sheep will be told, 'Come, you who've been praised by my Father; Inherit the Kingdom that's been prepared for you since the founding of the arrangement.' As you can see from this text, entering the Kingdom seems to equate to inheriting the Kingdom… which is an elevated position that is promised to the sheep and the righteous. However, Jesus wasn't saying that those who don't receive this reward wouldn't be resurrected. For more information, see the linked document God's Promise of an Inheritance.
One scripture that many Bibles render in an illogical way is 1 Corinthians 15:29. It says in Greek: 'Epei ti poiesousin oi baptizomenoi hyper ton nekron ei holos nekroi ouk egeirontai ti kai baptizontai hyper auton?' Which is literally translated as, 'Since what will do those being baptized on the dead, if all the dead not are raised, why also are baptized on them?'
From the wording of the above scripture, one religious group has concluded that they must be baptized for the sake of their dead ancestors and others. Yet, this concept contradicts the other scriptures and makes absolutely no sense. What purpose does the resurrection into God's Kingdom serve if it can be given to any type of person (whether righteous or unrighteous) as a gift from someone else? Isn't resurrection to be a 'king and priest' the reward that is promised for one's developing a special and personal relationship with God?
Notice how another Bible (NW) renders this verse, 'Otherwise, what will they do who are being baptized for the purpose of [being] dead ones? If the dead are not to be raised up at all, why are they also being baptized for the purpose of [being] dead ones?'
Although this wording, which makes the point that baptism is for the purpose of dying (not for the dead) is quite convoluted, its meaning may be supported by the text. The reason for this is that the Greek word hyper (which means on) can also be translated, for the purpose of. And our research has led us to a similar conclusion.
What was Paul talking about at 1 Corinthians 15:29? The answer appears to have been provided for us at Colossians 2:12, where Paul again wrote: 'You were all buried with him when [you were] baptized.'
So, note: He was saying that baptism symbolizes a person's willingness to share in the suffering and death of Jesus. And it appears as though a word was lost through the centuries of Bible copying (not an uncommon occurrence), and the verse at 1 Corinthians 15:29 should actually read: 'So, what good does it do for them to be baptized into his (Jesus') death?'
Many religions require that once a person 'learns the truth' as it is currently being taught, they must then be re-baptized even if they had been baptized before, to become part of their religion, church, or group. As the result, some who have been baptized more than once often say that they were baptized into this or that church or religion. However, what does baptism have to do with a particular dogma, creed, or joining a religion? Isn't baptism a personal agreement with God? And isn't baptism into a religion something that is done for a wrong purpose… putting a religious doctrine and group identity ahead of a relationship with Jesus?
'However,' some might ask, 'shouldn't we have a full knowledge of truth before we are baptized?' That doesn't seem to have been a requirement for early Christians. And if it was a requirement; then, we would all have to be re-baptized each time we come to a better understanding of Bible teachings.
Notice from the accounts quoted above, that baptism was performed at the beginning of one's accepting the hope and upon their agreeing to make a change in their lives. Cornelius and his household, the Ethiopian Eunuch, and all others were baptized within hours of accepting the good news; so, they surely didn't know the whole truth of the Bible, they just started having faith in Jesus and in his promises. Yet, today, some religions require that a person pass a test on church doctrines before they can be baptized. Do you think that such a thing was required of First-Century Christians? Surely not; for the Apostles and disciples baptized them anyhow… on the spot!
It has been argued, however, that those who were baptized so quickly back then didn't have much to learn, since they were already familiar with the Bible's teachings. But if that were true; then, what of Cornelius who wasn't a Jew but a gentile army officer… and the gentile jailer and his family that Paul preached to? And did being an ancient Jew give a person a better knowledge of God's purposes and requirements than it does people who already believe in Jesus? Surely many religions have come to wrong conclusions on this, because their instructions and requirements don't align with what was actually practiced by First-Century Christians. In fact, it is clear that such requirements go beyond being baptized into Jesus and do indicate that it is for the purpose of joining a particular sectarian religion; which is something that is not mentioned in the Scriptures.
Notice that the Bible says people were to be baptized so their sins could be forgiven, to gain a good conscience, and to show that they wished to follow a new way of life. So, if a person has already been baptized for those reasons; is there any just cause or need for rebaptism? If such an agreement has already been seriously and sincerely made with God; then, what does changing one's thoughts about what the Bible says on some teachings have to do with it? For, we should always be constantly learning and changing our minds as the result of Bible study.
So, if you have already made an agreement to serve God and to change your life; we would question why any action would be required other than fulfilling the vow that you've already made.
To give an example: We recently heard a story of an woman who was told that couldn't join a particular religion and 'be saved,' unless she was baptized first. And because she lived an incredibly long way from the nearest members of that group; she asked an itinerant preacher to baptize her (back in 1923). Then later (in her early 90s), when her mind was disabled with Alzheimer's; she was told that her baptism had never been valid and that she never had a relationship with God. So, she was told that she had to be re-baptized by a member of the religion that she had been a member of through all those years… think about that. Were they right?
The words found at Matthew 28:19, 'in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,' are not found in the ancient Shem Tov (Hebrew) manuscript of Matthew, so they appear to be spurious (words that were added to the Bible). Then, did Jesus really command that we be baptized in those names?
Many churches use this as a baptismal formula, and it has been called the Trinity Formula, since it contains the three-person Godhead.
Unfortunately, we don't have any complete manuscripts of Matthew prior to the 4th Century, and all existing manuscripts written thereafter contain this phrase. However, there is strong evidence that this is a later corruption of the original text; for, in his earliest writings, the ancient Church 'bishop' Eusebius appears to have quoted this verse as saying something quite different. Eighteen times between the years 300 and 336-C.E., he cited Matthew 28:19, 20 as saying: 'Go ye and make disciples of all the nations in my name, teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I commanded you.' So, notice that there was no mention of being baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!
Why the Change? Well, it is interesting that the traditional Trinitarian reading of Matthew 28:19 does not appear in Eusebius' writings until after the Council of Nicaea, where the Trinity began to be held as official doctrine. So, evidence strongly indicates that this is a spurious scripture inserted by later Trinitarians, in the same vein as 1 John 5:7-8.
Just who was Eusebius? He is one of the most important figures in the change of 'Christian' religion, since he was the person who had the ear of and who supported the pagan Roman Emperor, Constantine. For, it was Eusebius who was a powerful force in helping Constantine to recognize Christianity as the official state religion and in creating a fusion of it into the existing pagan religions of Rome. And in doing so, he was also involved in creating 'the Council of Nicaea,' in which the Trinity was established as Church doctrine. So, it's interesting that we only have Eusebius' earlier quotations of Matthew 28:18 to prove the current popular rendering, spurious.
However, this finding may prove to cut both ways for some; because, while it breaks apart the only mention of the Trinity trio, it does seem to prove what many Trinitarians have said all along, that baptisms should only be done in the name of Jesus. So, since there may be no mention of baptism into the Father and Holy Breath (Spirit), the only other instructions in the Bible on how to baptize people say:
· Acts 2:38: 'Repent, and each of you get baptized in the name of Jesus the Anointed One, so your sins can be forgiven. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Breath.'
· Acts 8:15, 16: 'They went [to the Samaritans] and prayed for them to receive the Holy Breath; because, it hadn't come to any of them yet, although they had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.'
· Acts 10:48: 'So, he commanded that they should be baptized in the name of Jesus the Anointed One.'
· Acts 19:5: 'When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.'
· Romans 6:3: 'Don't you realize that all who were baptized into the Anointed Jesus were also baptized into his death?'
· Galatians 3:27: ' 'All who were baptized into the Anointed One have put on the Anointed One.'
Also, notice the description that Luke gave of the parting words of Jesus, as found at Luke 24:47: 'Then, in his (Jesus') name, [the message of] repentance for forgiveness of sins is to be preached in all the nations, starting from JeruSalem.' So, as you can see; the Trinitarian formula isn't found there either, which it surely would have been if this was the true formula for baptism. For, why would Luke have missed such a critical detail if it was in fact said by Jesus?
To return to your Bible reading, click on the browser Back button