I have no intention of trying to thoroughly explain the totality of Baptism here, mainly there are a few points that upon further research strike me as significant.
1. a)Baptism must be voluntary and therefore having someone putting their hands on our head and pushing us into the water imply a force used, (not voluntary?)
b) anywhere some one else's hands touch the one being Baptized, means that the water did not completely cover them
c) officials in the early centuries were there as witnesses not performers. Again completely voluntary and performed by the individual who chose to be Baptized.
2. Baptism was to be performed in "living water" therefore pools (plastic or cement), and other self contained tubs cannot be used for proper Baptism. The water needs to enter and leave the pool through gravity.
3.The individuals being Baptized did it essentially on their own (with witnesses) no magic words, no officials given authority and no clothes. But after proper repentance expressed by the individual.
4. The entire process is and was symbolic of dying and coming to life in a renewed Christian life. Baptism "in the Holy spirit" again is a completely separate and different process that empowers one for special service for the church.
5. Baptism was not meant to be a one time event never to be repeated, but something than can be used whenever an individual feels there is a need. (although not excessively.)
Scriptures?2. Baptism was to be performed in "living water" therefore pools (plastic or cement), and other self contained tubs cannot be used for proper Baptism. The water needs to enter and leave the pool through gravity.
Acts 2:38; "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." These are not "magic words" but they need to be said.3.The individuals being Baptized did it essentially on their own (with witnesses) no magic words, no officials given authority and no clothes. But after proper repentance expressed by the individual.
Correct.4. The entire process is and was symbolic of dying and coming to life in a renewed Christian life. Baptism "in the Holy spirit" again is a completely separate and different process that empowers one for special service for the church.
Ephesians 4:5; "One Lord, one faith, one baptism," The word "one" applies equally to the "Lord" and so, there being only ONE Lord, there is only ONE baptism. Seeing as it is symbolic of dying with Christ (Rom.6:1-6) more than one baptism would speak of Christ dying more than once - which is not the case.5. Baptism was not meant to be a one time event never to be repeated, but something than can be used whenever an individual feels there is a need. (although not excessively.)
So you would have a wall of separation between the Jewish Mikvah and Christian Baptism? no connections at all? Sort of like the wall of separation between Seder and communion? Clearly there is some connection, one precedes from the other and they are ostensibly riven with symbolic threads that flow from one to the next.
The term living water is in the Jewish texts it is an OT idea and the entire rules for making the ceremonial baths (Mikvah) are contained in the Talmud and Mishnah. They tell us that the value of a mikvah was more than a synagogue and that to pay for a mikvah selling a Torah to pay for it was acceptable. It was the center of community life for the Jews of which Jesus was one. If John the Baptist created an entirely different process from the Mikvah, he managed to imitate most of the previous ceremony. We have nearly two thousand years of tradition telling us what we commonly hold as Baptism but they are substantially different than what happened in the early years of Christianity and especially what happened prior to that era.
I do not have the language skills to know for sure just where and how the English word Baptism comes from much less "Baptizing" maybe you can clear that up for me. What I can tell you is that in Mikvah there is no one doing the baptizing it is done before witnesses but entirely by oneself. btw if the formula of words used are rigidly controlled and no variance is allowed they inherently become magic words. One wonders if it is the water or the words which perform the act, when the entire process is symbolic and began as symbol from the earliest days in the wilderness. The original symbolic Baptism was as the Israelites walked through the Red sea as they escaped Egypt so it is questionable whether they even got wet at all.
I do know this that the word "one" can have several meanings and there is no indication that in this instance it meant a person cannot be baptized more than once. What you recite is the basis for tradition and you do know what Jesus told us about traditions. When the Jewish priests each month dedicated themselves for Temple work they each went to the Mikvah. So they repeated the process. Women as they finished their period would also go to the Mikvah. for a ritual cleansing, again symbolic but required of them. The cleansing was not from any dirt, but a purification from sin. Is there nothing within baptism as a ritual cleansing?
In some modern traditions all there exists is a sprinkling, which I object to as a substitute for immersion
Is baptism in water the only way to be "cleaned." Well, Jesus washed his disciples....but only their feet. He didn't baptize them; and there is no record of the Apostles being baptized at all. Except, Andrew and John were baptized by John the Baptist by implication - as far as I recall.
Are there other "religious" or even "spiritual" rituals one may perform to cleanse oneself? Is there a way for God to wash a person himself? I think so. FWIW.
For when nothing can be as it is, then whatever is turns into nothing. Yehushuan
Philip your point is well made, it is always and forever God who does the cleansing and not the ceremony. At best our willingness to submit to God is the trigger which sets it off.
We can go back to Peter and the tanner, and God gave Peter a vision of unclean animals and God said take, eat, remarkably Peter refused until God explained. Tanners were an occupation that was perpetually considered unclean since they worked with animal blood daily, and yet God clearly wanted that Tanner and his family to be included in God's church. So much of what the church considers contemptible people today are sanctified by God without human hands interfering. And the churches bound by tradition refuse to accept them.
"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:" (1 Peter 3:21)
You don't have something against a "good conscience toward God", do you?
"Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." (Ja 5:20)
For those who are interested, I publish here a short paper on Baptism that I prepared years ago. It is 3 A4 pages long, is unedited and the scripture proofs are by no means comprehensive. It was written as notes for the listeners of a series of messages I gave on the subject. It might enlighten - or provoke conversation on this very important subject.
Baptism Part 1
This short-paper is an outline of the various facets of full immersion Baptism. Scriptures are given but it is by no means comprehensive.
Since Constantine (313), the Roman Caesar who married the Roman State to Christianity, Christianity has been “leavened” with doctrines that are not found in the bible. Some of these doctrines are taken as fact by many Christians, although they have no foundation in scripture. To avoid this, and get to an understanding of God’s plan, a person needs to read the bible and take it just as it comes, that is, literally. When taken literally, the following scenario is revealed. God made man to be in His image and likeness, AND to rule the earth, sky and sea (Gen.1:26-28). Man fell, and God, Who cannot be thwarted, started a recovery process to have, in the fullness of times, a people who were in His image and likeness, and who were kings over the earth. The plan was to use Jesus Christ, second Person of the Godhead, give Him sinless humanity, make him in the image and likeness of God, allow Him to live a life under Law to establish God’s righteousness, allow Him to die for all men’s sins, be resurrected and, after saving a number of other men over a period of time, become king of the earth. The other men who were saved by Him would also become co-kings with Him when He returned to earth.
The Kingdom of the Heavens is simply heavenly rule brought to earth. The Lord prayed; “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done ON earth as it is in heaven…” And God answers this prayer in due time. The Kingdom of God is simply a sphere, or area, where God rules. They both refer to the rule that our Lord Jesus will set up when He returns from heaven to earth. There are twice as many prophecies concerning our Lord Jesus’ second coming as His first coming. When our Lord Jesus returns to earth He will defeat the armies of the heathen, restore Israel AND set up and everlasting Kingdom ON earth. Only select people will be allowed to enter this kingdom.
Baptism – its meaning
The English word “Baptism” is an Anglicisation of the Greek word “baptizo”, which means; “to fully immerse”, “submerge”, or “to make overwhelmed (i.e. fully wet).” Baptizo comes from the root word “bapto” meaning “to overwhelm”, “to cover wholly with a fluid” or “to stain (as with dye).” An equally accurate rendering of the Greek word “baptizo” is “immerse.” Without exception in the New Testament, baptism comes after rebirth by faith in Christ. Other observations that are not addressed in scripture are;
1. The Roman Church’s practice of infant sprinkling. It is wholly without scriptural foundation.
2. There is no special qualification required by any Christian, man or woman, to immerse a new believer.
A Command – Matt.28:19; Mk.16:16, Act.2:38
Starting from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, God has issued commands to men and expected them to obey irrespective of whether men know the reason or implications of the command. Thus, whether a new Christian understands the implications and/or reasons for baptism, he/she is obliged to do it. To refuse it is disobedience to the written commands of God. This is very appropriate, as we shall see, as it is the first requirement for entering the kingdom of God. Salvation and rebirth are by faith. Entering the kingdom is by works or righteousness, of which baptism is the first (Jn.3:3-5). In John 3:5, if the Spirit is literal, then the water must be literal as well. It reads literally – “unless a man is born out of water, and out of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom.”
The Principle or First Mention – Gen.1:2; 2nd Pet.3:5-7
The principle of baptism is burying the old, and then, out of buriel, the new or restored comes. A careful study of the first verses of the bible in the light of the whole bible reveals that God made the earth in good order (Isa.45:18; 1st Cor.14:33), but that Lucifer, the Prince of this World, devastated his domain (Isa.14:12-17; Ezek.28:12-19). God, in His perfection and holiness could not look upon the sin and chaos, and not only shut out any light, but covered the earth with water. Thus, the first covering of the earth by water in Genesis 1:2by immersion was because of judgment. And what came out of God’s six-day restoration was something new in the sense of “renewed” or “pristine.” It was the same earth and the same water but newly ordered. From this time onwards God follows this principle of burying the old, decayed and corrupted things, and bringing forth a new thing. The subsequent judgements on men are all in the same line. At Noah’s time the earth is again immersed in water. It “rained” fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah, and these cities now lie under the Salt Sea. Pharaoh’s power is “immersed” in the Red Sea, and the final judgement of the wicked is a “Lake” of Fire.
God’s people must pass through the Waters of Judgement – Josh.24:2-3, 14-15; 1st Cor.10:2
As all men stem from Adam and are thus from the old, fallen and decaying creation, they all face overthrow in judgement. But in order to save some men for Himself and His purpose God allows these men to cross through the death waters and temporarily survive. That is, God allowed a substitute, or symbol of being buried in water. God chose Abraham for raising up (a) the leading nation among the nations, Israel, and (b) Messiah who would bring the kingdom of heaven to the earth together with the Church. But Abraham came from idolaters. So he must pass through the Euphrates River on his journey of faith. Noah must pass through the death flood (1st Pet.3:20). Israel believed in the lamb, but were idolaters as much as the Egyptians were (Act .7:38-43), so they must pass through the Red Sea. Even Jesus, though perfect in all things, because He came from Mary, belonged to the old creation and was immersed “to fulfil all righteousness” (Matt.3:13-15). Thus, Christians, after believing in Christ, must be buried in water to show that their “old man” has been terminated with Christ (Rom.6:3-7).
Baptism Part 2
A Covenant - Gen.17:6-14; Rom.4:13; Gal.3:17-18, 29 - 4:1; Col.2:11-12; Jn.3:3-5
God chose Abraham for the recovery of His original plan to have men ruling and inheriting the earth. He made a covenant with Abraham. In this covenant God promised to give Abraham and his seed (1) the whole of the Good Land, and (2) the whole earth. In return, every male, that is, every coming king (Gen.17:6), must have his flesh symbolically cut off to show that the gaining of this kingdom will depend on the flesh of the old creation being terminated (1st Cor.15:50). Circumcision took place on the eighth day. The number eight in scripture indicates resurrection. This means that the flesh that survived after resurrection would be the flesh to inherit the kingdom. This is seen by the type of Israel at Gilgal.
Before Israel could inherit the Good Land two things happened. They again passed through a flood, in the Jordan, and then they must all be circumcised before taking possession the Promised Land (Josh.4). Any of Abraham’s seed that was not circumcised had no part of the inheritance because it was bound by a covenant. Circumcision was a symbolic cutting off of the whole flesh in death. It was a “sign” (Rom.4:11). Galatians 3:29 declares all Christians to be seed of Abraham and carefully declares that the covenant of circumcision has never been annulled (vs.15-17). But this presents two problems.
1. All Christians, men and women, are heirs because of their faith in Christ and God, so women would also have to be circumcised
2. Christ has declared that since Law has passed, the flesh profits nothing, only the spirit (Jn.6:63).
That means that something else must be counted equal to circumcision (for the covenant still stands). So God counts all those who believe in Christ to have been put to death with Him on the cross as having had their flesh terminated, just as Christ’s whole body was terminated (Rom.6:3-7). Thus, baptism is the legitimate circumcision of the New Testament for both men and women (Col.2:11-12). Any Christian who refuses baptism is like an Israelite who refused circumcision. He/she cannot enter the coming kingdom (Jn.3:3-6).
Washing the conscience clear - 1st Pet.3:20-21; Act.22:16
Once man had sinned there were multiple problems to be solved. Man had sinned, so death was his portion (Rom.6:23). He had offended God so he must be punished. He had also become an enemy of God and needed to be reconciled. He had also provoked God’s wrath, and this needed to be stayed. And even if all these were taken care of by the death and resurrection of Jesus, man would still have bad conscience. Just because somebody else pays your fines, it was still you that broke the law, and thus the conscience is burdened. God’s salvation is all encompassing. God has ordained that, just as the great flood of Noah’s time washed the filth of men’s sexuality and violence off the earth (the results of the flesh – Gen.6:11-13), and allowed the renewed earth to come forth from the death waters in a pristine condition, so will He do with the soiled conscience of men who have believed in Jesus. Baptism clears the conscience, and any Christian refusing baptism cannot spend the rest of his/her days with a clear conscience.
A Guarantee of a resurrection like Christ’s - Rom.6:3-5
According to scripture all men will be resurrected (Act.24:15, 1st Cor.15:16, 22). But depending on their faith and works they will have differing glory (Dan.12:2; 1st Cor 15:35-41). The heathen will have one glory, God’s earthly seed Israel will have another, and the Christians should all have the glory of Christ. But in order to be exactly like Christ in resurrection we need to have been baptised. Any Christian refusing baptism forfeits the chance to be 100% like Christ in resurrection. Romans 6:5 says; “For IF we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be ALSO in the likeness of his resurrection:”
Water immersion for immersion in the Holy Spirit – Act.2:38
The baptism of John symbolized that the old creation had failed and was neither acceptable nor adequate for keeping the Law and thus unacceptable and inadequate for being justified by God. Jesus then instituted another baptism, not in John’s name, but in His own, showing a baptism that not only denies the inadequacy of the old creation, but which identifies with His death, the ultimate termination of the old flesh. But John had predicted that while men would baptise (immerse) in water, Jesus would institute another immersion, that in the Holy Spirit (Matt.3:11; Mk.1:8; Lk.3:16). Because the flesh and the spirit are mortal enemies (Gal.5:17), God would not pour out His spirit on men who preserved the flesh. He is only prepared to pour out His Spirit on men and women who will deny the flesh. So Jesus makes it a condition of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Every case in scripture except one, follows this law. First water immersion in Jesus’ name, then immersion in the Holy Spirit (Matt.3:16; Mk.1:9-10; Lk.3:21-22; Act.8:14-17, 19:1-7). Any Christian who refuses water immersion cannot receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The only exception was the household of Cornelius (Act.10) and scripture itself gives the reason in chapter 11 and 15:7-9. The Law of Moses had been a way of life for the Jew for 1’500 years and it demanded total separation from the Gentile. No Jew would have anything to do with a Gentile and would certainly not accept that God’s salvation through the Jew, Jesus, would apply to the Gentile, even though it was prophesied. Thus, as soon as Cornelius and his household believe, they receive the immersion of the Holy Spirit with its attendant miracles as proof to Peter and the Jews that the Gentile as well as Jew receives the same blessings. However, they immediately allowed themselves thereafter to be immersed in water. An exception, especially when explained, cannot overthrow the rule.