Friday, July 13, 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 Israel’s three prophetic baptisms listed in today’s Scripture:
- John’s water baptism: John the Baptist preached, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand [approaching, near]” (verse 2). The first step in anointing believing Jews to become priests in Christ’s kingdom was to have them wash with water like Israel’s priests did before entering the ministry (Exodus 29:4). Israel needed to prepare for her coming Messiah (Jesus) by confessing her national sins (breaking the Old Covenant) and being water baptized of John.
- The Holy Ghost baptism: Israel’s Messiah Jesus will baptize her with God’s Holy Spirit (Acts chapter 2). This was the second and final step in anointing believing Jews to become God’s priests. After washing with water, Israel’s priests were anointed with oil (Exodus 29:7). Oil in Scripture is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, the “anointing” that believing Jews received on Pentecost (John 7:39 cf. 1 John 2:20,27).
- The fire baptism: A Jew needed both John’s baptism and the Holy Ghost baptism in order to function as a priest in Christ’s kingdom: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). This is why water baptism was necessary for salvation in Israel’s program (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). Any Jew who refused the two above baptisms would receive the fire baptism, God’s wrath. Unbelieving Jews would never enter Christ’s earthly kingdom, previously perishing in the fire baptism (Christ’s Second Coming, and eventually hellfire). Joel 2:28-32 and Acts 2:16-21 indicate this fire baptism would have occurred shortly after Acts chapter 2 (the Holy Spirit baptism). However, God interrupted and temporarily suspended Israel’s program: our Dispensation of Grace postponed this fire baptism, which is yet future (notice Israel’s prophetic timeline of Joel 2:28-32 and Acts 2:16-21 knew nothing of our dispensation occurring between baptisms 2 and 3).