The Importance Of Water Baptism

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Brother Paul, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. Prescriptions for the use of immersion are not laid out all that clearly in the Tanakh but we are assured by Rabbis and Scholars of Judaism alike that the tevillah service and immersion in a mikvah or ritual bath was commonplace and understood by all, so elaboration was not necessary, though we do find some pre-Talmudic references to the practice.

    Baptism actually stems from the ancient Jewish practice of the Tevillah service, during which either persons or things are immersed in a mikvah (a bath), for various purposes and intents. It was instituted by YHVH. It is not about being cleaned physically because in most cases one must be clean before participating.

    Immersion is rooted very deeply in His people Israel from many centuries before either John the Baptist or Jesus ever appeared on the eschatological scene. Those who came to John did not think they were experiencing something new. On the contrary they were quite familiar with the practice and understood totally what he was doing and what he was offering (this is why they came). One general principle comes to us from Leviticus 22:6 where the Torah implies that that which is unclean must be washed with water. This was why the Israelites always required full body immersion in either a mikvah (pool or bath) or in a body of “living water” (river, lake, sea, etc.,) by any proselyte who wished to convert. Through such an initiatory process a gentile could be allowed into the community of faith. This not only washed away their possible ceremonial uncleanness, but also represented a death to their old life and a rebirth into a new one. Much like Christianity, the waters were first prayed over and sanctified, that is, consecrated for this purpose, and they believed YHVH overseeing this bestowed the necessary blessings whereby He sanctified the individual recipients.

    The priests not only had to be immersed before Yom Kippur. and the other yearly festivals, but the High Priest had to also be immersed again after sending off the scape goat (Azazel). Many individuals also practiced ritual immersion in preparation for Shabbat. It was a holy ritual not a cleaning of the skin.

    Likewise, if one wanted to dedicate themselves to service, such as s Nazarite, they also had to be immersed as a sign of intended repentance. They would be as dead to their old life, and for the time of their vow lived in newness of life.

    Women also were instructed to ceremonially immerse in the mikvah following their menstrual cycle, and not for the obvious hygienic benefits, but to remove the ceremonial uncleanness assigned under the Law. This was required under the Law before a woman could resume intimate relations with her husband.

    Then finally (but not exclusively as you will see) there is the Taharah (purification) service or the washing of the dead before burial. They did not for one moment believe the person was being cleaned for the afterlife. It was a matter of what it represented.

    So because of all this, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan in his book, Waters of Life, describes this practice in Israel preceding at least Hillel and that this immersion in a mikvah is a type of womb as well as a tomb. The waters of life are reminiscent of Creation where the waters above separated from the waters below brought forth the ground from which Adam was made. Brides and grooms are immersed symbolizing the newness of life they would now share as one. These are all great times of transformation, rebirth, elevation into a higher order, higher union with and before God, and so on.

    In Mikvah:The Art of Transition, scholar Avraham Trugman tells us they baptized “in order to become ritually pure after a temporary state of ritual impurity, or when a person or object changes status…! The same rule applies when an instrument or vessel is dedicated to the Lord. When immersed in living waters (like rivers and streams) life “swallows up death.” When a plate or a bowl were washed in the waters of purification it ceased to be what it once was and now was forever something other.

    Baptism into the Shem (name) of Messiah for the remission of sins is an immersion with and by the Holy Spirit of God into His presence and His authority. We are now identified with Him and as one of His. This imparts not only a new significance (new status) to its recipient in terms of ones relationship with the faith community, but when coupled with genuine faith there is an impartation of a new nature poured forth into the recipient. A new spirit person is born. The Old is as if it is passed away. We are now a new kind of creature after the order of the last Adam, Jesus Christ. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which born of the Spirit is spirit! Hallelujah! We are made into a new creature. We become partakers of the Divine nature He alone can impart (not just symbolically). For the time being, the physical part remains the same, and the soul aspect is still habitually impressed with the habits of the old nature with all of its ways and thoughts. But if you have been born from above, you have become a living spirit again, with a new nature made in His image awakened in you. You now have two natures in one person. This is the Jihad. When He returns at the Second Advent (the parousia), the body shall also be renewed and glorified in and by Messiah. Oh Glory to God! Praise His mighty name!

    Immersion done with the wrong attitude or from an incorrect motive makes the ritual is meaningless. This is why baptized babies must be raised to have faith (parents and God-parents take an oath to do so) and later when the child confesses Christ at their time of confirmation, their baptism is made effectual. Until then it is somewhat in-potentia. The ritual alone is not effectual or else everyone who ever took a bath would be saved and this of course is absurd! For example, Simon Magi in Acts 8 is said to have believed and was baptized but he believed for his own sake that he could wield such power as he had seen and then he would be exalted. His heart was wrong before God. He sought to gain the Holy Spirit to exploit it for purposes of fame and wealth (as some do even to this day).

    When the heart of the one being baptized is not right before the Lord, or is harboring false or impure motives, God knows this, in which case, all the dipping, sprinkling, or plunging in the world cannot, and will not, effect the rebirth of the person’s sin-deadened human spirit. Such concession by a family’s traditional Church community, or even by mere outward profession, does not make one a child of God. Those who teach that all you have to do is repeat this prayer are not telling the truth. Yes such a confession is important but it must be sincere, from the heart that seeks to be made right with God, not a free pass magical formula. If you are really in contrition over your sinful condition and you with a sincere heart fall before God seeking His grace, He will give it. The infilling received is eternal Life, and this can only happen through faith in the Lord’s gracious work in Messiah Jesus. The Holy Spirit within is the seal, or guarantee or down payment of that promise, and we are sealed until the day of redemption (the parousia) when that which is so promised is fulfilled. The Holy Spirit is our blessed assurance.

    Those of the school of Hillel were baptized into the traditions, understandings, roles, and responsibilities, prescribed by Rabbi Hillel. They readily and willfully adopted and practiced these. The same was true for the followers/disciples of Rabbi Shammai. In Qumran, the men there had to be immersed into the traditions, understandings, and roles prescribed by the Zadokite Priests. So it is with the followers of Jesus to this day! I just want you to realize that this was not at all peculiar or uncommon in that time or culture, and that it was not something new, something “Christian”, but it was always something ordained by God.

    Notice how in all these cases the recipient is entering into a renewed or new order of relationship, or is restored or graduated to a greater oneness in relation to or with something or someone other. In addition to the consecration function, and ceremonial cleansing, the attainment of conversion and a new identity was forthcoming.

    It was also a service of dedication to a Holy Office and/or for engaging in Holy Service! Whenever a person entered a life of leadership in the Holy Community, such as a priest, a King, or an officiating prophet, there was always a confession or profession, there was an immersion (sometimes simply into the role, or in the word, or in the Holy Spirit) and there was always an anointing! Sometimes the anointing preceded sometimes followed. In the Old Covenant a pouring out of oil upon the person symbolized the spiritual action taking place, but in the new covenant the Father pours out the Holy Spirit upon us. Are we any less then priests and kings? Nay! Indeed we are a nation of priests and kings (1 Peter 2:9; Revelations 20:6).

    Aaron and his sons had to be immersed into their priestly office (Exodus 29:4). Their garments were likewise immersed (Leviticus 6:27). The laver of washing always stood between the congregation and God’s presence (Exodus 30:18) and it is written “they shall wash with water so they will not die.” See also Psalm 51.

    Every plate and utensil being made Holy by God to be used for service in the Temple had to be immersed first. So now you can see it was likewise, the lawful and logical thing for Jesus to do (to be baptized by John the Baptist who actually was not only God’s prophet, but a priest as well) in order to officiate His public ministry as Messiah. Every person or item sprinkled with the blood was to be washed.

    In Judaism, just as in Christianity, certain prayers were said over the water before immersion, and thanks and praise followed. With the benediction, supplication, and prayers God sets them apart for Holy or Sacred purpose. Holy water therefore, is water that has been “set apart” or sanctified for the Rites of the Holy Community of Faith, and has no special power in and of itself, as one might think from watching some of today's popular movies, or so-called deliverance ministers. This idea of passing through the waters to enter into a new life goes way back.

    Did not Noah and his family have to pass through the waters to have a new life? When Moses led the children of Israel though the Red Sea they were leaving their old self, held in bondage behind and entering a new Holy covenant life with God. Before Joshua and the consecrated generation could enter the promised land they had to pass though the rushing Jordan.

    Spirit motivated baptism is the way into Messiah (Galatians 3:27). It is a baptism of faith. The mysterious transformation by grace is performed by the Holy Spirit, and in most cases, but not all (see Simon Magi in Acts 8, versus the Centurion’s household in Acts 10), this accompanies the temporal immersion, which is representative of the gospel itself. It is a form of death (repentant death to unbelief and intentional sin), burial (immersion with Him), a being lifted up, a resurrection (justified regeneration upon rising from the mock watery grave, or womb, to walk in newness of life). However, the Spirit can immerse a faith filled believer into Messiah before any ritual (but in the Biblke these are immediately called to be immersed), and even void of the temporal ritual if it cannot be performed (like the thief on the cross), and finally in some cases there are those who are baptized but do not receive the Spirit until later.

    So in light of this I can see where Jesus questioning Nicodemus says to him, “Are you not a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not know of these things?” The question was a rhetorical one. Of course Nicodemus knew what He was saying only he could not admit it yet. So for us, to say “I am saved already because I believe, therefore I do not need to be baptized” is in grave error! God designed that all that He was setting apart (making Holy), should be immersed in the waters. Now if you have confessed Christ go and be baptized…it is indeed essential. Not for the reasonableness of one theological argument versus another, but because God made this to be the way. Your argument is with Him. Any who says “I’m already saved so I won’t be baptized” should examine their faith, for may not be saved and are still children of disobedience.
  2. "For the righteous shall live by faith.... oh, and water baptism. You can't be saved if you aren't water baptized."

    I'm all for water baptism, I just haven't done it formally yet. Although I did immerse myself in water, If that counts. I am baptized by the Holy Spirit, not water.
  3. So true CW, but Jesus said to be baptized in water, commanded us all to baptize...the Apostles ALL practiced it (as well as the deacons)...the earliest church was taught that all must be baptized and they all baptized everyone coming to Christ...and the whole church always did this until shortly after the Reformation...So I believe you have the Holy Spirit and are if this is true then go and be baptized...God made this a part of the way He consecrates you unto Himself. Do not resist the Holy Spirit within, I know He is speaking to your heart on this and I would find it hard to believe that one person of the Godhead would say to your not bother, it is not necessary. Look at Cornelius's household, the Spirit fell on all of them and what was the next thing Peter did? He brought them to the waters..."Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?" Imagine if they said NO I don't need it?

    In His love

    brother Paul
  4. Do other Spirit born believers also think that they should not also be baptized in water? Why?
  5. 1Pe 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

    If Scripture says it's a good Conscience toward God, good enough for me. Get dunked in water.
  6. I have never heard a better teaching on baptism. I was in a service one night, and the call was made to be baptized. I felt the tug of the Lord, but told Him that I was already baptized. I heard Him speak to my heart, Do as you want. I jumped up and said, "No Lord: I will do as you want!"
    I was baptized as the Pastor called upon the NAME of the Lord on my behalf. At that moment, the Lord told me to open my eyes, and I did as I went into the waters. The waters opened, then closed over me: making the burial all the more real.

    His NAME is Jesus!
  7. Greetings:

    When an adult gets into a sorry position and decides to call upon the Holy Spirit for help.Where is the HS to land.Definitely not on
    some rotten dirty part of a sinful landscape.Remember,the manna formed on the dew.

  8. Well I guess I'll get baptized then. Just contacted my church.
  9. Baptism is a symbol, like a ring is a symbol to marriage. If you do not have a ring, does this mean you are not married?
  10. I always look at the thief on the cross. He is in heaven and never got baptized. Special circumstance?
    Where is the Messiah likes this.
  11. I got saved, no water. In fact I went to the shower and just told the Lord I am baptizing myself. I spoke in tongues before getting dunked in water, was saved just fine.......... (NO RING)

    I think since its in the Word and an example, then It would not be bad to follow that example. I am not saying that you can't be saved without getting dunked in water though, I am just saying following the example.
  12. _______________________________________

    The thief was saved according to the Law. I believe that if he had been able to get down from the cross (granted a reprieve) and lived until the Day of Pentecost, the thief would have also been baptized "...for the remission of sins in the NAME of Jesus Christ...". He would have been counted among the three thousand or so souls that believed.
  13. ____________________________________

    You're kidding, right? You went to the shower with no water and baptized yourself? (Yes, I'm a little sarcastic and skeptic).

    Why did you tell the Lord you were baptizing yourself? Because you believed...what?
    "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." So, you believed what? Were you already "saved" before you baptized yourself? If you were [saved], then why get baptized? Since baptism is for the remission of sins, then how could you be saved with sin still in you? If sin was still in you (although perhaps not imputed), how can a slave free himself, or another slave, since no one is free and cannot pay the ransom? Do you really think it's a matter of obeying the example without believing?
    You raised a hornet's nest of questions, Beloved.

    Walk in the Light.
  14. No, the Shower worked. Had water.

    I was looking at the scripture that said Baptism does nothing for putting away sin, but a good conscience toward God. I figured that I would just get that out of the way, just in case.

    Now, why if I was saved or whatever, I never thought that to much into it. A good conscience toward God, and I noticed that in the scripture, so I just got that off my conscience.

    Now I never said I did it to get saved, never mentioned that. I see something in the Word, and act on it. So, there was not a whole lot of thought that went into it.

    Good conscience toward God: Done, Check.

    Off to the next thing.

    Be blessed.
  15. _____________________________________

    "Can any man forbid water...?
    And he commanded them to be baptized in the NAME of the Lord."

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