Why Water Baptism
Burying the Old Self in a Watery Grave
Our bodies contain over 90 percent water. Physical life itself cannot be sustained for long without ingesting water. All body organs require liquids composed of water for continued functioning. The smallest cell in the body contains water and the health of the individual depends directly upon the amount of water within cells.
Blood circulating through the body (itself composed mostly of water) brings nutrients to the cells and carries off waste products. The supplying of food and elimination of waste through the bloodstream are much more efficient than a fleet of delivery trucks coming to the supermarkets, followed by the garbage pickup to maintain cleanliness. Certainly we are "fearfully and wonderfully made," Psalm 139:14.
Consider the Role of Water in the Bible
Yahweh used water to show His omnipotent power. One of the plagues brought upon the Egyptians turned the waters of the Nile River into blood, Exodus 7:17.
- At the marriage in Cana in John 2:1-10, Yahshua turned water into wine, His first recorded miracle.
- To escape the Egyptians, Yahweh caused the waters of the Red Sea to divide and become a wall, Exodus 14:21-22, so the Israelites could proceed on dry land.
- In the Israelite wanderings, they camped at Rephidim where there was no water. In response to their complaint, Yahweh caused water to gush forth from a rock, Exodus 17:1-6.
- After slaying a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass, Samson thirsted and Yahweh miraculously provided him drinking water from that jawbone, Judges 15:14-19.
- In the contest between Eliyah and the 450 prophets of Baal, Yahweh showed His power by consuming water with fire from heaven, 1 Kings 18:21-38.
- Elisha caused the metal axe head to float when one of his students dropped it into the Jordan River, 2 Kings 6:5-6.
Wonders of Water
The uniqueness of water is manifest in its many uses. Water is essential for life.
It provides power, recreation, refuge, cleansing and has many other uses,
not the least being a medium for renewing spiritual life.
Water Heals Physically as Well as Spiritually
The Bible also records accounts of the cleansing and healing power of water. Naaman the leper, dipping himself in the Jordan River seven times, was cured of his leprosy, 2 Kings 5:14. The healing of the lame man in the pool of Bethesda (John 5) and the blind man's washing the clay from his eyes in the pool of Siloam all suggest there is a truth Yahweh is teaching about water and what it symbolizes.
Probably no message of the cleansing and healing properties of water are as important as the account of the Noachian flood. By the time of Noah the world had become so corrupt that there was no hope for mankind.
Sparing Noah and his family, Yahweh destroyed the decadent and sinful people. He cleansed the earth of this cancer by drowning nearly every air-breathing creature, man and animal alike, Genesis 6:17. The same waters that destroyed life also lifted up the ark and preserved the lives of Noah and his family. It was the water that separated the sinner from the saved.
From the time of Adam and Eve to the present, Satan has cause mankind to teach and believe many false doctrines, Mark 7:5-9. Many well-intentioned people worship in vain because they do not know the truth or have not investigated by "searching the Scriptures to see whether these things be true," Acts 17:11.
"Mankind has been deceived as to what Yahweh's plan of salvation really is. Yahweh desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, 1 Timothy 2:4. Just before ascending to the heavens, our Savior gave us the commission: "Go into all the world and preach the Glad Tidings to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned," Mark 16:15-16.
"This passage is very important. The conditions are twofold: to believe and to be baptized. Is believing the only prerequisite for baptism? Notice what Yahshua said as He came into Galilee, preaching the glad tidings of the Kingdom of Yahweh: "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of Yahweh is at hand; repent and believe the Glad Tidings," Mark 1:14-15. Peter confirms this truth in Acts 2:38 in answer to the question, "What should be done?" He said, "Repent and be baptized."
Physical immersion in water is incumbent upon all because the Savior Himself was actively baptized as an example for us to follow, Matthew 3:3-17. He was sinless yet still was immersed by John. Surely he had every reason to say baptism for Himself was unnecessary. But He didn't.
We learn spiritual lessons through physical acts. Merely giving mental acquiescence to the necessity of baptism does not satisfy the requirement.
Some ridicule the idea of baptism, being immersed under water and getting all wet, as being sort of ridiculous. They think nothing of it when their fraternal organizations mandate some sort of initiation rites. College sororities and fraternities often have a week of initiation activities. Lodges and charitable organizations have a ceremony as new members are inducted into their group. Even graduates from high school and college have a ceremony which calls attention to their work and activities.
Man has learned that such activities are necessary to remember and commemorate the event. Physical participation helps us recall and remember the event much better. It gives meaning to the event. And so it is with Yahweh who teaches us spiritual truth through physical lessons. He wants His own to actively demonstrate their belief through immersion.
John the Baptist did not come upon the scene with his own ideas of baptizing in the River Jordan for repentance of sins. His was a message of reconciliation of Israel to their Elohim--change of heart and mind so they would accept the message of the Redeemer of Israel. His baptism was a public acknowledgment that the person was penitent and willing to turn away from sin in anticipation of the coming Messiah.
Are You Worshipping in Vain?
Yahshua said in Mark 7:7, "Howbeit in vain do they worship Me." Many will tell us that worship can never be valueless. If we worship Him, it cannot be in vain, they teach. "Worship at the church of your choice," the advertisement goes.
But Messiah Yahshua Himself said that many are worshipping him in vain. How is this done? "Teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of Yahweh, you hold the tradition of men." How many don't even know whether their beliefs come from Scripture or from habitual tradition? They never bother to prove their beliefs from the Bible!
If we are to be a True Follower of Yahshua the Messiah and be a part of the Body of believers, Scripture requires that we submit to physical water baptism. The sinless Messiah was willing to do so merely to set an example for us to follow in His footsteps. Therefore, we should not feel baptism in water is unnecessary for our salvation. We should not hang back and expect that a spiritual acquiescence is all we really need. To show our full consecration to Him, we must be physically immersed in water.
In this lesson, you will see the conditions required by the candidates for baptism. We will study some of the ancient analogies of baptism. We will come to know the real meaning of baptism. The physical act of baptism will also be examined, as well as the proper method.
Baptism in Only One Name for Salvation
Many people have come to conclude that the formula in Matthew 28:19-20 is the proper way to baptize. They say aloud, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." But none of these is a name! They use this exact formula about using a name and then don't use any name. The word "Father" by itself can refer to many adult males. You and I have fathers. Many of you are fathers. But the name of the Father defines only one distinct being. Note the admonition of Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:12-13. He says that those baptized Corinthians were forming divisions among themselves by following various men. Some felt allegiance to Paul, some to Apollos, and some to Cephas, while others recognized their allegiance was to the Messiah. Paul wants no part of their divisive contentions. He shows that it is the Messiah who was impaled for us. It is the Messiah in whose name they were baptized, verse 13.
Note Paul's words, "Was Paul impaled for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?" Because only the Messiah was impaled for sin, it is obvious that we should be immersed only into the name of Yahshua.
Just as Matthew 28:19 uses the singular "name," Paul does the same in his treatise. Had it been a Trinitarian formula, certainly the reading would be "in the names of." In fact, the Greek words representing "in the name of" are eis onoma tinos and mean "to the account of" or "to the possession of." Clearly, when we are baptized it is into the singular Name of Yahshua. We then become a part of His Body and His possession, with Himself as the head, Ephesians 5:23 and Colossians 1:18. Every example of baptism given in the Book of Acts is in the name of Yahshua.
Schaff Herzog's Religious Encyclopedia states under "baptism": "[Yahshua], however, cannot have given His disciples this Trinitarian order of baptism after His resurrection; for the New Testament knows only baptism in the name of [Yahshua] (Acts 2:39, 8:16, 19:5; Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:3; 1 Corinthians 1:13-15), which still occurs even in the second and third centuries, while the Trinitarian formula occurs only in Matthew 28:19. It is unthinkable that the Apostolic Church thus disobeyed the expressed command of the [Master] which it otherwise considered the highest authority. Finally, the distinctly liturgical character of the formula in Matthew 28:19 is strange; it was not the way of [Yahshua] to make such formulas. Nevertheless, this baptismal command contains the elements which constitute Christian baptism; for the activity of the Son in baptism implies the immediate cooperation of the Father; and from the beginning Christian baptism has been considered the mediating agency of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, while the formal authenticity of Matthew 28:19 must be disputed, it must still be assumed that the latter congregations recognized as the will of their [Master] that which they experienced as the effect of baptism and traced it back to a direct word of [Yahshua]."
Conditions Necessary for Baptism
Every case of baptism recorded in the New Testament followed a preaching of the Good News and a belief in the truths taught. The instance of Philip and the Ethiopian is a clear one.
After Philip had preached Yahshua to him, they came to water and the eunuch said, "See here is water; what hinders me to be baptized?" (Acts 8:36). Philip answered, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." The Ethiopian answered, "I believe that Yahshua the Messiah is the Son of Yahweh."
Notice that first Philip preached the Good News, to which the man responded by expressing a desire to be baptized. But baptism was only administered after an expressed confession of a belief in the things which Philip had taught.
Another instance is found in the same chapter, which records the work of Philip at Samaria. In verse 12 we read, "When they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the Kingdom of Yahweh, in the Name of Yahshua Messiah, they were baptized, both men and women."
Later, when Paul and Silas were miraculously delivered from prison at Philippi, the jailer perceived the hand of Yahweh at work and asked them, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Acts 16:30. The record continues, "And they said, 'Believe on the Savior Yahshua the Messiah, and you shall be saved and your house.' And they spoke unto him the Word of Yahweh and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his straightway."
In each of these cases, baptism was administered in response to a desire that had been aroused by a belief in the Good News preached by the apostles. From this it follows that baptism of infants is not agreeable with the Scriptures for two reason:
• It is not preceded by an intelligent understanding and belief in the Good News.
• It is not carried out by total immersion in water. (More on infant baptism later in this lesson.)
The Significance of Baptism in Water
Some people talk about the many times they were baptized by different groups as they accepted the teachings of each. Others openly claim they will never be baptized. Is it a light matter to be baptized? Should baptism be taken lightly? Is baptism to be regarded as a mere ritual that one must go through to join a religious organization?
Open your Bibles now and find out just what baptism is all about.
1. What frame of mind or attitude is one to have before being baptized? Mark 16:15-16 and Acts 2:38.
2. To believe and have faith--actually means to have something tangible? Hebrews 11:1.
NOTE: If we have something concrete, then we no longer hope for it, but already possess it.
3. What was Yahshua telling us to believe in when He said in Mark 16:16, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved"? Mark 16:15.
NOTE: We are to believe, to have faith in, Yahweh's plan of salvation as given to us in the Scriptures. This is certainly good news to our ears if we will open our ears.
4. What had Yahshua told His chosen twelve to do in Mark 6:12?
5. Is this also what Yahweh wants? Acts 17:30 and 2 Peter 3:9.
NOTE: Repentance is a necessary step that must be taken before one is baptized.
6. What do the following scriptures indicate one is to repent of? 1 Kings 8:47; Jeremiah 18:8; Ezekiel 18:30; Acts 8:22.
NOTE:The dictionary verifies that the word repent means to feel totally penitent for what you had done or failed to do, causing you to change your ways. This is the meaning of the Greek "matenoeo," translated "repent" in the New Testament Scriptures.
The end result of repentance is conversion. This will be brought out further when we examine the meaning of baptism.
Ancient Analogies of Baptism
1. What was the moral condition of this world in Noah's time? Genesis 6:5-8. What did Yahweh say He would do? Verses 7 and 13. How was this to be done? Verse 17.
2. How does the story of Noah and the flood relate to baptism? 1 Peter 3:20-21. Did Noah and his family escape the penalty of destruction (same verses)?
NOTE: Just as the flood cleansed the earth from past wickedness, baptism cleanses us from our past sins. Noah believed in Yahweh and built the ark and was thereby saved. As Noah, we too must believe and have faith in the cleansing power of Yahshua's blood, 1 John 1:7.
3. Were the Israelites happy when they left Egypt, a type of sin? Numbers 33:3.
NOTE: The phrase "high hand" means to be uplifted, exuberant.
4. Were the Israelites pursued by the Pharaoh and his army shortly after leaving Egypt? Exodus 14:8-9.
5. Did Yahweh promise to help the Israelites? Exodus 14:13-14. What did He do? Verses 15-16 and 21.
6. Were the Israelites fearful to walk across the bottom of the Red Sea? Psalm 78:53. Did they have faith in Yahweh as they passed through on dry ground? Hebrews 11:29.
7. Did the Egyptians continue to pursue them? Exodus 14:23. What happened to Pharaoh and his army when they did? Exodus 14:27-28; Psalm 78:53 and Hebrews 11:29.
NOTE: Pharaoh and his soldiers represent the power of Egypt, being a type of sin. They were buried beneath the waters of the Red Sea, a symbol that the immersed are no longer serving sin, but alive unto Yahshua the Messiah. We are cleansed from our past sins at baptism.
8. Did this event typify Israel's baptism with its burial of sin? 1 Corinthians 10:1-2. Is this event also to serve as an example for us? Verse 6.
Burying the Sinful Man in Water
When all of Israel had safely passed through the Red Sea, the waters returned to their natural state and buried the Egyptians. It's an unforgettable picture signifying to us that baptism results in total elimination of past sins from our lives.
1. Haven't we all sinned? Romans 3:23; 1 Kings 8:46; Ecclesiastes 7:20. Did Yahshua sin? 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15.
2. Can man cleanse himself from his own sins? Jeremiah 2:22. How, then, is man cleansed from his sins? 1 John 1:7 and Romans 3:25.
NOTE: Now we can see that having faith that Yahshua's blood can remove our past sins is of utmost importance.
3. Was Yahshua baptized? Matthew 3:14-16.
NOTE: Even though Yahshua was sinless, His baptism serves as an example for us to follow. "For even hereunto were you called; because Messiah also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps," 1 Peter 2:21. • Did not Yahshua and Peter tell us all to be baptized? Mark 16:15-16 and Acts 2:38.
4. Did not Yahshua and Peter tell us all to be baptized? Mark 16:15-16 and Acts 2:38.
5. Were there not other believers who were also baptized? Acts 2:41, 8:12-13, 10:47-48 and 18:8.
NOTE: Read again Acts 10:47-48. If any group ever felt immersion in water was unnecessary, these Gentiles could have said it was not necessary as they had already been given the Holy Spirit. Note that they then asked Peter to remain a few days after they were baptized.
6. Do not believing and baptism go hand in hand? Mark 16:16.
NOTE: Once one receives the truth, believes in Yahweh's Word and has a penitent heart, then baptism should naturally follow. Conviction must follow belief.
7. Did Yahshua die for our sins? 1 Corinthians 15:3. Was He then buried and resurrected? Romans 6:3-5. Isn't our "old man"--our old sinful way of life--to be buried also? Verse 6.
8. Are our past sins forgiven when we are baptized? Acts 2:38.
NOTE: When we are baptized, our past sinful way of life is buried. When we arise out of the water, as Yahshua arose from the dead, we are to live a new life. See Ezekiel 18:30. This is indeed the real meaning of baptism. By baptism, we signify our beliefs in the Scriptures and are willing to change our way of life to one that is well pleasing to Yahweh. We walk in His law, in newness of life, and know that through Yahshua's blood, we can attain everlasting life.
The Only Saving Name
1. Did Yahshua ever do any baptizing? John 4:2. Who, then, did the baptizing? Same verse.
NOTE: It was His ordained disciples who did the baptizing. Today it is those in the ministry who care for the flock.
2. When we do or say things, in whose name are they to be done? Colossians 3:17. See also Acts 10:48.
NOTE: The phrase "in the name of" signifies the authority given. Yahshua Himself did not baptize anyone. But His followers did it by His authority.
3. What does the Great Commission say about this? Matthew 28:19.
NOTE: Here the word "in" does not mean by the authority of, but should have been translated "into," as the Greek word "eis" means motion to or unto an object. Here the object is the Name, singular. The rest of the words used are titles and not names. (The Jerusalem Bible questions whether this verse was inspired or was part of the liturgy that crept into the text.)
4. Into whose Name are we to be baptized? Acts 2:38, 8:16, 19:5.
NOTE: As in Matthew 28:19, the word "in" should have been translated "into." This shows that baptism starts a growing process after being added to the Body of Messiah by becoming more like the Savior in all that we do and say.
5. Is Yahshua's Name the only name under heaven whereby we can possibly be saved? Acts 4:10-12.
NOTE: When a baptism is taking place, the person doing the baptizing is acting under the authority of Yahshua, in His place. The person being baptized is baptized into Yahshua's Name, signifying that the person is now closely bound to Yahshua and His way of life. The group of believers who accept the sacrifice of the Savior and submit to baptism are likened to a physical body. They are the anointed ones, and acknowledge Yahshua as the final authority, "He is the head of the Body, the Assembly," Colossians 1:18. By believing, repenting and immersion, the individual members enter into that sanctified Body. The door into that body is baptized into Yahshua's Name. "By one spirit are we all baptized into one body whether we be Jews or Gentiles," 1 Corinthians 12:13. We are then known as the Body of Messiah, and Paul likens this sanctified group to a family, Ephesians 3:15. We take on Yahshua's Name just as a bride takes on the name of her husband. Our background or origin makes no difference. In Yahweh's eyes we are all one family and are set apart from the world. We are already partakers of the supreme Name.
This and similar portrayals are commonly used in efforts
to justify sprinkling or pouring in baptism. Yet this form of
baptism is a mere concoction of men, not a manifestation
of the meaning of the word baptism.
Sprinkling, Pouring or Immersing?
Whenever the priests entered the sanctuary of Yahweh, they were to wash their hands and feet in a ceremonial cleansing, Exodus 40:30-31. A bath was customary for cleansing of uncleanness, Leviticus 14 and 15. Note especially passage 14:5 where the word "running" water is "living" water in Hebrew. The baptism of John was "unto repentance," Acts 19:4, but to be baptized correctly, we are to be baptized into Yahshua's Name for the remission of sins and the receiving of the Holy Spirit.
When the King James Bible was being translated in 1611, the translators came to the king and asked his advice. Adept translators correctly stated that the Greek word "baptizo" meant to immerse or dip. But others argued that the custom of the church was to sprinkle or pour. To avoid any confrontation, the king ordered them to transliterate the Greek word into English, and thus the Greek word "baptizo" (baptize) remains untranslated.
That baptize means to submerge, immerse or cover with water is evident today as Jewish custom utilizes a tub called a mikvah for ceremonial baths. It is a type of ritual cleansing practiced by Jews today.
One scholar notes: "For women, the ritual bath after menstruation or childbirth was a biblical injunction (Leviticus 15:19, 12:1-8). The bath took place in a mikve--a tank big enough to contain sufficient water to cover completely the body of a man of ordinary size," Judaism and Christian Beginnings, Samuel Sandmel, p. 153.
Interestingly, the Jews practiced baptism before and during the time of John the Baptist. We read in Guthrie's New Testament Theology, p. 717, "We must first enquire about the significance of John's baptism against the background of contemporary practices. Judaism probably practiced proselyte baptism for the admission of Gentiles who wished to embrace Judaism." Sandmel agrees that baptism was by immersion: "The steps by which a Gentile became a convert, after some exposure and knowledge, came to include two major rites. One was baptism (immersion in water) and the other, circumcision, from which women were of course exempt," p. 231.
If pouring were commanded of Yahweh as proper for baptism, then the Greek "cheo" would have been used. If sprinkling were permissible, the Greek "rhantizo" would be used as in Hebrews 9:19, 21 and 10:22 (meaning sprinkling) as well as Hebrews 12:24 and 1 Peter 1:2. It is clear that the only acceptable method of baptizing is through immersion in water, becoming completely covered.
But the very fact that the word "baptizo" (total dunking) is the only word found in the Greek shows that immersion into water and being completely covered is the proper symbol of a burial. A burial of a dead animal is more than sprinkling some dirt on its head.
Sprinkling in baptism is perpetuated by portrayals such as above.
A little thought and study will easily dispel this notion.
The first person to baptize in the New Testament was John the Baptizer. We read, "And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was MUCH water there," John 3:23. We are certain that John immersed, because neither pouring nor sprinkling requires MUCH water as does immersion.
When Yahshua was baptized by John it is said, "And Yahshua, when He was baptized, went up straightway OUT of the water," Matthew 3:16. "And straightway coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens open," Mark 1:10. Had Yahshua not gone into the water, He could not have come up out of it. Furthermore, He would have been foolish to have walked into the Jordan River up to His knees or waist only to have John sprinkle some water on His head when such could have been done on the shore. Every indication shows that Yahshua was immersed.
In the conversion of the Ethiopian we are told, "And they went down both INTO the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of Yahweh caught away Philip," Acts 8:38-39. Again, we see that the eunuch was immersed, not sprinkled.
All of the words used in the New Testament, in association with the act of baptism, come from the Greek "baptizo," which means to immerse, dip under. By definition of the very word "baptism," we see that immersion under water is the only correct method.
1. Were not the sins of the earth immersed or covered by water in Noah's time? Compare Genesis 7:20-23 with 2 Peter 3:6.
2. Were the sinful Egyptians buried under water after the Israelites passed through the Red Sea? Exodus 14:27-28, 1 Corinthians 10:1-2.
3. Is this idea of complete immersion like a burial indicated when we are baptized? Romans 6:3-4.
4. From Romans 6:3-5 we see baptism likened to a death burial. It is symbolic of the burying of the old nature. What else is baptism likened to? Colossians 2:11-12.
NOTE: The word translated "baptized" in 1 Corinthians 10:2 and Romans 6:3 is the adaptation into English of the Greek "baptizo," overwhelm, cover. By using Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, one can verify that all references to baptizing come from the word "baptizo." Further verification of immersion can be found in the writings of Bible scholars.
"The Greeks may surely be credited with knowledge of the meanings of their own language. The substitution of pouring or sprinkling for immersion, as the Christian ordinance of baptism, was late and gradual and finally triumphed in the West because of the decree of the Council of Trent," International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, p. 386.
"Until the 12th century, throughout Europe [Yahshua] was shown baptized by immersion, according to current church custom. From the 12th century, gradually a baptism by infusion began to be shown, again reflecting church custom. [Yahshua] stands ankle deep in the river as John pours water over Him from a saucer or pitcher," "Baptism of Christ," Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, p. 799.
Other references to immersion as being the only correct way include:
• Institute of the Christian Religion, John Calvin, Book IV, chapter 15.
• Explanatory Note on the New Testament, John Wesley.
• The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 261-263.
• History of the Christian Church, Philip Schaff, Vol. 2, p. 251.
• The Beginnings of Christianity, George Fisher.
• Ecclesiastical History, Mosheim, London, 1765.
• The Life and Epistles of St. Paul, W.J. Conybeare and J.S. Howson.
Even if one does not care to employ other scholarship, one must not discount the true meaning of the Greek word "baptizo." The Greek word for sprinkle is "rhantizo" and to pour is "cheo." However, "baptizo" is the Greek word meaning to dip under.
Some have adopted a practice of dipping the baptismal candidate three times into the water. The Bible, however, clearly says there is "one baptism," Ephesians 4:5. The so-called "Apostolic method of baptism by three dips," is from the traditions of men. There is nothing in Scripture to show there was more than one dip into the water.
The Roman Church propounded the idea of three dips in keeping with their concept of a Trinity. Most of the writings supporting the practice date from 332 C.E. onward. There is nothing that shows the biblical method was any more than one burial.
Infant Baptism--Is It Scriptural?
Because of the teaching of "original sin," which many Protestant churches adhere to, unless the infant is baptized he may be eternally lost. All are born inherently tainted with sin, according to this teaching. Sin and the eternal death penalty are brought upon mankind because of the sin of Adam and Eve. "Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned," Romans 5:12. Further, Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and come short of the glory of Yahweh.
The practice of baptizing infants became universal in the 6th century. However, it was never practiced by the apostles and was never commanded by Yahshua our Savior. Primarily from Egyptian beliefs, infant baptism became a part of the rite of the early Roman Church.
"The administration of baptism to infants was subsequently rendered compulsory by an edict of Emperor Justinian, who reigned over the Eastern Roman Empire from 527 C.E. to 565 C.E. He enacted 'that such pagans as were yet unbaptized, should present themselves, with their wives and children, and all that appertained to them, in the church; and there they should cause their little ones immediately to be baptized.'" Cote's Archaeology of Baptism, p. 120.
Emperor Justinian decreed the rite of infant baptism so the entire family would become a part of the realm. Just why an emperor would make an edict for baptism is unclear, except that it would strengthen his total rulership over the people as he could enlist the aid of the church to effect discipline.
We have learned from this lesson that, according to Scripture, one of the primary commands is to repent before one is baptized. It is virtually impossible for a little one to repent while still a babe. We have a brain when we are born, but we do not actively think for several years. Humans, like animals, react from instinct to a certain degree. It is difficult to understand how a baby could repent--be sorry for sins and determine to mend his ways. How can he believe on the Savior? The baby's only real concern is to satisfy hunger and thirst and be comfortable.
1. Did Yahshua show concern for infants and babes? What did He request the little children to do? Matthew 19:13-14 (suffer means to allow or let). Does Mark say almost the same thing? Mark 10:13-16. Notice that He blessed them. Nowhere does He baptize them. He was asking for special spiritual care for these young ones, and prayed that their parents would be given the wisdom to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of Yahweh.
2. Does Yahshua say that one must be baptized as a child to receive or enter into the Kingdom? Matthew 19:14 and especially Mark 10:14-15.
NOTE: Mark 10:15 is used to teach that unless one is baptized as a small child he will not get into the kingdom. Examine the words, "Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of Yahweh as a little child shall not enter therein." The sense is that one must receive the words of the Bible from our Heavenly Father, just as a small child confidently and fully accepts the words of his father and believes and acts on them, or we will not have the faith to continue in His Word. We are to be childlike in our approach to the Bible.
Further, we cannot say that Mark 10:14 means that the Kingdom is made up of babies for that is not what Yahshua meant. He was talking about accepting Him as the promised Redeemer of Israel. That was His basic message. He tells us to be meek and willing to do what is asked of us to have a part in the Kingdom. We are to approach our Heavenly Father in child-like obedience in answer to His call to conversion.
3. What about the household of Stephanas? 1 Corinthians 1:16. Didn't Paul say he baptized the household, the family? In 16:15-17 we learn that the family of Stephanas was addicted to the ministry. Therefore, they must have been adults and able to carry on work in proclaiming the Good News of salvation.
While Acts 10 speaks of the household of Cornelius as being immersed as well, it is merely pure assumption to say that they had children that were baptized. There is not one example of children being baptized in the Bible. On the contrary, the age of maturity in Scripture is 20. Note that all those the age of 20 and over had to die in the wilderness and could not enter into the land of Canaan, Numbers 14:29. As with other Bible injunctions such as paying the temple shekel, being counted according to genealogy, entering the priesthood or military, all began at the age of 20.
The Holy Spirit Given at Baptism
1. Who are the members of the true Body of Messiah? 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 27.
NOTE: Through repentance and baptism, accepting Yahshua's blood sacrifice which reconciles us unto Yahweh, we are made members of the sanctified Body of the Messiah.
2. What are we to do once we are immersed? Romans 6:4, 6, 12-13.
NOTE: We are not to sin, but as Paul tells us in Romans 7:14-25, there will always be a war going on within us between the forces of good and the forces of evil. Once we have accepted Yahshua and are immersed, Satan will tempt us even more, just as he did right after Yahshua was baptized, Matthew 3:16-17 and 4:1.
3. Are we to resist Satan? James 4:7.
NOTE: This can be done two ways: by avoiding any temptations and staying away from those situations, and by refusing to yield to sin.
4. Since Satan is more powerful than we are, how can we possibly resist him? Romans 8:13-14; John 16:13; 1 John 4:4.
NOTE: It is by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us that we are able to resist the devil. His Spirit guides our thinking and strengthens our resolve.
5. How do we receive the Holy Spirit? Acts 5:32, 8:14-17, 19:1-6.
NOTE: First we repent of our past and accept the death and shed blood of Messiah for our sins. We are immersed and become obedient to Yahweh's laws as we reform our lives and strive for perfection.
6. Is this gift free? Acts 8:18-20; Luke 11:13; 1 John 3:24, 4:13; 2 Corinthians 5:5.
NOTE: Once a person has been baptized, the elders lay their hands on him and pray that he may receive the earnest (down payment) of the Holy Spirit to enable him to withstand the wiles of Satan. What we then do determines whether we can keep this gift or not. Acts 5:32 tells us that the Holy Spirit is given to them who are obedient to Yahweh. The Holy Spirit is not to be quenched, 1 Thessalonians 5:19; not to be grieved, Ephesians 4:30; or resisted, Acts 7:52.
Baptism is a serious matter and the sincere person
will not let anything stand in its way--not even icy water!
Are You Ready for a Lifetime Commitment?
In the account of the Israelites wandering for 40 years in the wilderness, the Bible indicates that 20 is the age of maturity. See Numbers 14:26-32 and 32:11; Deuteronomy 1:39. Also, the temple tax was levied on those 20 and over, Exodus 30:12-14 and 38:26. Those of 20 years were considered eligible for the military, Numbers 1:3. Training for the priesthood began then, 1 Chronicles 23:24-27.
Because different people mature at different ages, the age at which one is eligible to be baptized depends on maturity. That person must be able to distinguish good from evil and to repent of his past sinful way of life. This rules out infants and young children.
Before being baptized the individual must understand and recognize the seriousness of such a decision. Matthew 3:6 says, "They were baptized of him (John) in Jordan confessing their sins." Acts 2:41 shows, "They that gladly received his (Peter's) word were baptized." An infant cannot understand nor repent of his past way of life. Nowhere in Scriptures can there be found a single instance of infant baptism.
To be immersed into the Body of Messiah is a serious matter and not to be taken lightly. To take it too lightly could jeopardize your future when Yahshua returns to claim His own.
By entering into the waters of baptism, and renouncing our sins, we take on both Yahshua's Name and that of the Father Yahweh, Revelation 14:1 (margin). It is the beginning of a whole new way of life.
If you are truly convicted of the truth you are learning in these lessons and if you sincerely desire to be obedient to the will of the heavenly Father, to come out of Babylon and follow Him, being deeply remorseful for your sins, then you must make a decision. Can you continue to defy the Almighty by living the life you want to live?
He is calling you to take a stand now. Will you listen to that call and act, or will you put it off until it is too late? The Philippian jailer was baptized at midnight, not even waiting until morning. Ananias asked Saul (Paul) what he was waiting for: "Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the Name of Yahweh," Acts 22:16.
If you desire to make a new life, contact us and one of our elders will gladly counsel with you. Baptismal tours are made at various times in the year. Don't put it off. Make your decision today to be one of Yahweh's own.
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