Tuesday, July 17, 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).
Let us review why Israel’s three prophetic baptisms do not apply to us:
- John’s water baptism: God the Father sent John the Baptist to “make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17). John preaches to Israel, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand [approaching, near]” (Matthew 3:2). John’s water baptism is to prepare Israel to become a “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:5,6; cf. 1 Peter 2:5,9), since Israel needs the Old Testament priests’ ceremonial washing. Jews who listen to John’s message and experience his water baptism form “the little flock,” the believing remnant of Israel that will inherit Christ’s earthly kingdom (Luke 12:32).
- The baptism with the Holy Ghost: On Pentecost (Acts chapter 2), Jesus Christ baptized that “little flock” (His apostles and disciples) with God’s Holy Spirit. This was to empower them to continue what He (Jesus Christ) had begun during His earthly ministry (that is, lead Israel to faith in Him as their Messiah-King; Luke 24:47-49; Acts 1:8).
- The fire baptism: Jews who refused the two above baptisms would receive the fire baptism, God’s wrath. Unbelieving Jews would never enter Christ’s earthly kingdom. They would perish in the fire baptism (the Tribulation, Christ’s Second Coming, and eventually hellfire), as described in Matthew 24:36-42, Luke 17:26-37, and Revelation 19:11-21.
When we understand that the three “baptisms” in today’s Scripture are unique to Israel’s prophetic kingdom program spoken by the Old Testament prophets (Acts 3:21), and that we Gentiles in the Dispensation of Grace live in the mystery (secret) program which God hid from the Old Testament prophets (Romans 16:25), it becomes apparently clear that we are totally isolated from Israel’s baptisms. When we understand that Paul is our apostle (Romans 11:13), we follow his epistles Romans through Philemon, and faith does not lead us to practice Israel’s water baptism, seek Israel’s “Pentecostal power,” or fear Israel’s Tribulation.