Tuesday, July 10, 2012
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” (Matthew 3:11 KJV).
Today’s Scripture demonstrates that, contrary to church tradition, “baptism” in the Bible does not always mean water baptism. We want to examine the three “baptisms” found in today’s Scripture. By searching God’s Word, we will discover precious truths that traditional Bible teaching overlooks.
BAPTISM #1: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance.”
In the context of today’s Scripture, God the Father has sent John the Baptist to water baptize repentant Jews in the river Jordan (verses 1-6). When John sees many Pharisees and Sadducees (Israel’s religious leaders) coming to his baptism, he warns them to “bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance…” (verses 7,8). Today’s Scripture is also what John told them. He cautions these unbelieving religious leaders that Jesus (“he that cometh after me”) is about to present Himself to Israel as her Messiah-King, and they need to “get right with God.” By faith, they need to follow the repentant Jews: confess their sins (breaking God’s Old Covenant of Law) and receive John’s water baptism.
John’s water baptism is nothing new for Israel. In Exodus 29:4 (cf. Exodus 40:12; Leviticus 8:6), Israel’s priesthood, Aaron and his sons, were to “wash with water” in order to enter the priesthood and minister in God’s Tabernacle.
Why is John water baptizing? He is preparing Israel to be a “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:5,6; cf. Isaiah 61:6; Luke 1:16,17). These Jews, when Christ would establish His earthly kingdom, would evangelize Gentiles. In fact, the LORD, speaking to Israel of her coming redemption and kingdom, declared, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you” (Ezekiel 36:25).
Apostles Peter and John make references to Israel being a “kingdom of priests” in 1 Peter 2:5,9, Revelation 1:6, and Revelation 5:10 (the future Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ).