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Baptism

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> Matthew 28: 19
Meaning
Baptism symbolized the cleansing from sin of a believer. In the Old testament, water baptism was used by Gentiles who converted to Judaism. Therefore, it was a ceremony that one used to become a child of God.

There are two types of baptism and both are for the cleansing from sin. One is from Christ, the other is from the Holy Spirit. Jesus received the baptism of the Holy Spirit at His water baptism.
I baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him. And a voice came out of the heavens, "You are my beloved Son, in You I am well pleased".
(Mark 1: 8-11)

  1. Water Baptism (The Justification). This is a symbol of what has been done for us by Christ. He makes us dead to sin by dying for us and burying all our sins.
    Buried with Him in baptism, in which also you are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:12)

    Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6: 4)
    According to Colossians 2: 12 and Romans 6: 4 this abandonment of sin is symbolized as:
  2. Baptism Of The Holy Spirit (The Sanctification). This baptism gives us the power to be dead to sin. The principal work of the Holy Spirit is to cleanse us by writing the law of God in our hearts. When this is accomplished, we will be obedient to God and take pleasure in doing what is right.
    » Washed In Blood. It is Jesus that made both of these baptisms possible through His stream of blood.
  3. Baptism By Fire (The Glorification). This is the moment of our perfection at the Second Coming.

Washing And Cleaning
There are various washings and cleansings and symbols associated with them.

Water Baptism

Requirements
"And he said unto them, Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that does not believe shall be damned." (Mark 16:15, 16)

How was a baptism done? Jesus said.
"Go, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you: and look, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." (Matthew 28: 19)

The Mikvah
(Ancient Baptism)
The Mikvah was a ritual bath used for cleansing and purification. The water must be from a natural source of running water such as rain, snow, river, spring and well.
The entire body, from head to toe was immersed in water.
It was used by the Jews for all washing and cleansing and for the Gentile who was converting to Judaism. All males washed before the Day of Atonement and the priests washed themselves before entering the sanctuary. Women washed themselves after being separated for twelve days because of the menstrual cycle.
Current Practices In Baptism
Today there are many methods of baptism.

Conclusion: The Requirements Of Baptism
However, certain rituals were required.

Rebaptism
The bible supports the concept of rebaptism when information is missing. Acts 19: 1-6 shows the case for baptizing again. The people had only learned about water baptism, which is the baptism that demonstrates repentance. This baptism had always existed through the mikvah. However, they had never heard about the baptism by the blood of Jesus and the baptism by the fire of the Holy Spirit. They had not been baptized under the truth of the new covenant. This was a significant part of the Plan of Salvation. They had to signify that they would submit to Jesus and the Spirit by baptism.
He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (Acts 19: 2-5)

Baptism Of The Spirit
Baptism cleanses from sin. Therefore, the purpose of the baptism of the Spirit is to give us the fruit of the Spirit. The gifts of the Spirit, like prophecy, healing, miracles and teaching do not cleanse us from sin. But the fruit of the Spirit like love, joy and faith demonstrate that we have been cleansed from within.

Therefore, the baptism of the Spirit is the process by which the Spirit develops the permanent fruit in us. He washes away the need to sin from our minds and hearts, at the very core of our being. The gifts of the Spirit are temporary and different. The do not demonstrate that we are saved. They are simply given to the saints to fight evil and to gather more people to Christ because the wicked are attracted by outward signs. The gifts will disappear when we get to heaven. The fruit will not.

Baptized By Living Waters
Flood Exodus
Water Baptism Spirit Baptism
Jesus promised that the spiritual rivers of water will be the Holy Spirit. And that these waters will start within us. Again, this image is the transformation of the mind and heart from within.
Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near.
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, "From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water." But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
(John 7: 2,37-39)

In various places in the Bible you will see a reference to "John's baptism" or some other person's baptism. What does this mean?
All these baptisms occurred after an exodus from slavery to sin, to meet God and establish a new covenant.

New Covenant Baptism
Water Spirit
Water Baptism Spirit Baptism
Repentance Sanctification
Acts 2: 38. Repent and be baptized and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
John baptized with water only, but Jesus baptized with the Spirit also. Under the new covenant we must be baptized with the water and the Spirit. Repentance and a new heart.
Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3: 5)

The water baptism comes after teaching. The Spirit baptism comes after believing. Both baptisms are needed. This series of events is stated another way.
Now faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10: 17)

Faith or believing, causes the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This faith comes only after we are taught the words of God and we believe. Water baptism is the universal sign that we are leaving the life of sin and death behind, to follow Christ. This repentance leads to justification. Then God responds by giving the Spirit who brings sanctification.

Jesus said that if He did not leave, the Holy Spirit could not come.
But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go I will send Him to you. (John 16: 7)
According to John 7: 39, Jesus must first be glorified before the Spirit could be given.
Since we know that the Holy Spirit has always been here, this probably means that He could not formally come to be the constant companion under the new covenant. Another baptism (or method of cleansing) arrived with this new covenant. Before the death of Jesus, all baptisms could not have formally included this baptism of the Spirit under the new covenant. The terms of the covenant could not be applied until the death of Christ. However, those who had faith could take hold of this future reality. What was different is that now the Spirit could be given by the Laying on of hands. The power was being actively sent, not passively received through faith.

The Rain
Old Covenant New Covenant
CrossCrucifixion Resurrection Alive The Inauguration Holy Spirit Holy Spirit Early Rain Early rain Pentecost Latter Rain Latter rain Tabernacles
Dead Seed Barley Harvest Wave Sheaf Wheat Harvest Fruit Harvest
Dead to Sin Power over Death Power to Change (grow fruit) Power to be Useful
Blood Water Fire

Many people define the former and latter rain as the baptism of the Spirit. I think that this is too limited. The purpose of the rain was to multiply the harvest. Growth in numbers not cleansing. They had already been cleansed and were united. Therefore, they were prepared to gather the harvest that the Spirit would bring.
In fact, Jesus breathed on His disciples and gave them the Holy Spirit on the night of His resurrection. They received the Spirit before Pentecost.
So rejoice, O sons of Zion, and be glad in the Lord your God; for He has given you the early rain for your vindication. And He has poured down for you the rain, the early rain and the latter rain as before. (Joel 2: 23)

The Washing Of The Holy Spirit
Although Baptism is a symbol and it cannot change us, yet it is still a requirement because it is still prophesying about things not complete. In the same way that the prophets said that the blood of animals cannot remove sin 1000 years before Christ, but it was still sin if the people did not obey until after the crucifixion. Baptisim prophesies about the sinless perfection and resurrection to eternal life.
The ones who fulfilled the symbol must be able to recognize it when they come. There is either a generation or a people coming who must recognize through diligent study of the Bible what they must see. It is our hope in symbols. If we change it the enemy has a way to deceive us. The signs must be present. It will look like stupidity to the ones who must destroy it.
The Laver is a sign of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Sealed
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of Promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1: 13-14)
Power Of The Holy Spirit
2 Peter 1: 3-4, 8 says that divine power is given to us so that we can be the following:

The Mark In The Head.
Fruitful (Fruit Of The Spirit). This part of the power is the baptism of the Spirit that cleanses us. It meets all the definition of the word baptism. It gives us the power to bear the character of God so that we are once again "in His image".

The Mark On The Hand.
Useful (Gifts Of The Spirit). The power to be useful. This part of the power does not cleanse or cause people to repent. It is not the baptism. It does not accomplish the work of baptism. It gives us the power to work with the Spirit to accomplish the plans of God.


We are sealed by the Holy Spirit to signify that we are the possession of Christ. This means that we are selected in this new adoption process where we are becoming sons of God. Is there a sign that we are sealed?

  1. Fruit Of The Spirit: Changed Mind And Heart. The most important sign that we have the Holy Spirit is the emergence of the fruit. However, this happens over a long time and may not be visible to other humans. The evidence we see can be subjective. We might think that they are not perfect enough or showing slow progress.
    In John 17, Jesus describes the true sign for which He is waiting. It is the love and unity that is demonstrated to the world by the church.
  2. Miracles. A less important sign is the spiritual gifts. But some of these may not be spectacular signs and they may be mistaken for intelligence, education and superior ability. These gifts are given to do the work of Christ and tongues is only one of the gifts. Therefore, a person many not have tongues or other gifts of power that can immediately be recognized as the work of God. People often overlook the gift of "helps". This is the backbone of many churches. People consistently volunteer to do everything to make our church services operate.
  3. Fire From Heaven. The tongues of fire that the disciples saw were signs that are immediately visible.

The last two signs will be duplicated by the forces of evil in the last days. Therefore, they cannot be signs of being baptized by the Holy Spirit.

The only purpose they served was to immediately give the church supernatural credentials. People would stop and listen just on the basis of what they saw. Without this, the disciples would be just one more voice in a crowd of powerless beggars.

The only sign that will remain in heaven is the fruit of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit of Promise is given to fulfill the promise of the new covenant. This gives us power to obey.
This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: "I will put My laws upon their heart, and on their mind I will write them." He then says, "And their sins and their lawless deeds, I will remember no longer". (Hebrews 10: 16).

So, is a particular gift or the tongues of fire necessary? No. However, God used them in the early church to gain momentum and to quickly break down prejudice. Peter would never have believed that the Gentiles were also part of the plan, if he had not heard them speak in tongues. (Acts 10: 44) But before they could do this, and even before they were baptized, they already had the Holy Spirit.
In their case, they believed and that was the only requirement needed to receive the Spirit. In return for their faithfulness, God gave them the only thing that they needed for eternal life. This was the Holy Spirit.

Limited Transfer
The wicked or unclean or the uninvited will be killed by this transfer of power.

Uzzah died when He touched the Ark of the Covenant. The Philistines suffered a plague when they stole the Ark. Even the Levites who were allowed to move the furniture were not allowed to see or touch the Ark.

Transferring Holiness
The power of God can be passed from one person to another.
Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not fallen on upon any of them yet; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostle's hands, he offered them money. (Acts 8: 14-18).

  1. God Comes Personally. The Holy Spirit came in the form of flames of fire and rested on them. This was to keep a promise.
    And there appeared to them tongues of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. (Acts 2: 3).
  2. Consecration Service. God comes during an ordination service and makes the priest and altar holy (Exodus 29: 10,15, 19, 21, 24-30, 37, 42-44).
  3. Breathing. Jesus gave them the Spirit even before Pentecost.
    He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit". (John 20: 22).
    Idolatry And Holy Objects
    An incorrect understanding of holy objects has caused people to worship inanimate objects and dead people. These objects do not have perpetual power independent of God. It is God who performs the miracle, not the object.

    Point of Contact Ministry. A misuse of this power causes crooks to sell vials of holy water, strips of cloth, blessed coins and objects that will deliver wealth, healing, cars and romance. This is idolatry in a bottle.
  4. Active Touching (Laying on of Hands). Those who have the Holy Spirit can transfer the gift to another by touching them. This is not a mindless event. God is not forced to go where a person has not repented and become the friend of God. Therefore, the apostles followed a procedure and applied wisdom. People must first be taught, baptized and show outward signs that they believe.

    This principle of transferring holiness by touching a consecrated object or person was also in the Old testament.
    The priests and their clothes became holy because they touched the holy altar which was consecrated at the inauguration service.
    For seven days you shall make atonement for the altar and consecrate it; then the altar shall be most holy, and whatever touches the altar shall be holy. (Exodus 29: 37).

    Afterwards, this holiness could be transmitted to the people through their clothes.
    When they go out into the outer court ... they shall take off their garments in which they have been ministering and lay them in the holy chambers, then they shall put on other garments so that they will not transmit holiness to the people with their garments. (Ezekiel 44: 19).

    The Holy Spirit made them holy on the day of Pentecost. Therefore they were able to transfer power by touching, or "laying on of hands". (1 Timothy 4: 14)
  5. Passive Touching (Power Transfer through Faith).
    Consecration, Pentecost Person Priests, apostles Objects (Clothes) Power to do miracles
    Laying on of Hands
    Holy Spirit God Faith Power
    Consecration Objects (Altar) Touching
    A woman is healed and made clean by touching the blue tassel on Jesus. While the "laying on of hands" is an active transfer of power from the one with the power, yet a passive transfer of power occurred because of the faith of this woman.
    And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. And Jesus said, 'Who is the one who touched Me?' And while they were all denying it, Peter said, 'Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You.' But Jesus said, 'Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.'
    And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well, go in peace".
    (Luke 8: 43-46, 48)

    Jesus healed them all with a touch.
    And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue [power] out of him, and healed them all. (Luke 6: 19)
    What came out of Jesus? The word virtue has been translated as power and moral excellence.
  6. Long Distance Active Touching (Power Transfer through Objects). This was the same principle by which the priests transferred power through their clothes.
    God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from His body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. (Acts 19: 11-12)
  7. Long Distance Passive Touching (Power Transfer through Faith). Jesus healed the servant of the soldier from a long distance.
    Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented. Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him". But the centurion said, "Lord I am not worthy for you to come under my roof, but just say the word and my servant will be healed.
    Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following. "Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel".
    (Matthew 8: 6-8, 10)

Baptism By Fire (Glorification)
There is one other cleansing that occurs at the end of time. After the millennium, the earth will be cleansed by fire. At that time the holy people and the city of God will remain untouched within this fire. It will not destroy them. It destroys the wicked.
... Who among us can live with the consuming fire? Who among us can live with continual burning? He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity ... (Isaiah 33: 14-15)
To prepare for this cleansing, the church has a little baptism by fire with the Holy Spirit. As He cleanses us from within, our trials and problems make us mature Christians. These problems are called our testing by fire before the Second Coming.
so that the proof of your faith being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1: 7)

The Importance of Baptism
Blood baptism is a gift of God that justifies us. Water baptism is a sign of the cleansing and sanctification work of the Holy Spirit. Fire baptism perfects those who have been saved.
Justification Sanctification Glorification
Sin Repent Cross Dove Repent Study Believe BaptizedLaw Fruit Gifts Testing Perfection Gold No Sin Alive
BloodWaterWaterFire
Gift Our Reponse is Required God Examines
There are several steps in the process of salvation. We repent and confess our sins, receive the Holy Spirit, study the Word of God, believe in Jesus Christ and get baptized. This is how we become and remain a Christian.
Everything else that we do is because we have become believers in Christ. We continue in daily prayer and study, obey the Holy Spirit, take communion (eat bread and wine) and do missionary work to teach others and lead them to Jesus Christ.

Becoming A Christian
When does someone officially become a believer or a Christian? What are the steps on becoming a Christian?
There are at least four general steps in becoming and learning about Christianity. We repent, believe, study and then are baptized. Will we be lost if we do not complete all these steps? Which are necessary? Which saves us?

We had nothing to do with our justification and blood cleansing. It is a universal gift, falling on the just and unjust like the sunshine and rain. All we can do is accept it and respond by repenting. We are babies in the faith at that moment, but we are believers. I base this on the thief on the cross. He was saved only after repenting.
So continued obedience to the Holy Spirit, Bible study, daily prayer, communion, assembling with the brethren are part of the Plan of Salvation but they are steps done in the maintenance phase (sanctification). If we do not continue with these activities we are in danger of being lost because Satan will be working very hard to make you fail.

Gift Gift
Jesus BloodHoly Spirit Rain
BloodWater
Believe
(Faith)
High PriestPray RepentObeyConscience
Law
Law
High PriestPray ObeyObey
High PriestStudyObey
BaptizedHeart
Clean Past New BodyClean Mind
What Is Absolutely Necessary For Salvation?
There are several steps of salvation. I make a distinction between what is required for righteousness versus what the righteous will do (fruit). In my definition, the things that are required for salvation are the things that all saved people must do and what has been done for them.
Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are required for salvation. Fortunately, they have been given as gifts. Repentance and obedience to the Holy Spirit are the two requirements that must be done by all Christians at all stages of their submission to God so that the cleansing by the blood and water can be effective. As we grow in the Holy Spirit, we produce fruits.

The Wicked Will Never Repent Or Obey.
Salvation By Baptism?
A misunderstanding of the significance of water baptism has led to forced baptisms, infant baptism, the belief in limbo and the belief that only Christians can be saved because all savages will be lost if they do not become Christians.
Surely the Plan of Salvation has found a way to reconcile all people in all circumstances.
The internal baptism of the Holy Spirit is the solution.
At the final judgment, everyone will have the greatest Bible study ever presented by the greatest Rabbi who ever lived. Everyone will acknowledge that Jesus is God. Every knee will bow and confess that God is righteous (Philippians 2: 9-11). They will admit that they were wrong. Yet the wicked will attack God soon after this great revelation. Knowledge or truth or common sense did not save them. They refused to repent and obey and submit to God. Repentence involves acknowledging that you are wrong and turning away from what you are doing by ceasing hostilities with God and submitting to Him. They did not cease their hostilities.
You will become a friend of God at the moment you cease your hostilities. This is when you are saved. Water baptism is the formal signing of the peace declaration. The gift of the blood of Christ, repenting and obeying the Holy Spirit will save you. Every saved person will have these in common. Every lost person will not submit to them.
Studying, believing in Jesus, keeping the commandments, working for God, belonging to a particular church and being baptized with water do not save you. However, the person who is being saved will do these things because the Holy Spirit will convince you to do them. So the process of salvation will include all those steps, but God does not wait until you are finished or graduated to save you. You can die anywhere along the steps and still be saved because you have already received the Holy Spirit as a gift and repented of what you are convinced is wrong. You have submitted to God, an action that the wicked will never do.
» A Great Salvation. The incredible news about this wonderful salvation is that the two absolute requirements have been given to us as a gift! They are Jesus and the Holy Spirit. All we need to do is to accept and submit. Repentance and obedience are our response when we have the knowledge, opportunity and the mental capacity to do so.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God. (Ephesians 2: 8)

Study to show yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.   2 Timothy 2: 15 Time: 60 minutes
Print: 14 pages
Copyright     Updated : August 25, 2004. 2009.
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Author: Laverna Patterson. Editor: Patterson (January 2008)