A Better Baptism #6

Monday, September 23, 2019

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

The Holy Spirit, reflecting on John the Baptist’s ministry some years later, comments in 1 Peter chapter 2: “[9] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” This agrees with God’s promise 1,600 years earlier to make Israel “a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:6).

It was wholly appropriate that Jews be water baptized who believed on Jesus as Christ. After all, they were now His priests—and the Mosaic Law stipulated priests wash in water. They were manifesting their faith, their change in mind, moving from idols and returning to the one true God. Malachi 4:5-6 and Luke 1:16-17 predicted John the Baptist’s ministry would “make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Also, it necessarily meant that those who refused John’s water baptism were expressing their unbelief (idolatry!). Note Luke 7:29,30: “And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.”

Jesus Christ was water baptized to be Israel’s High Priest (see Hebrews 3:1) as well as to identify Himself with Israel’s believing remnant. Read John chapter 1: “[29] The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. [30] This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. [31] And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.” Not to be outdone, however, sinful man and Satan muddle up such simple Bible truths….

A Better Baptism #5

Sunday, September 22, 2019

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

Throughout my childhood, I constantly heard about water baptism by immersion as if it were the only mode. “Immersion” is the “true” Bible water baptism, it was—and still is—declared ad nauseum. In all actuality, however, the type of water baptism associated with Israel’s repentance is sprinkling (aspersion). It is not affusion (pouring) and not immersion (dunking)! Ezekiel 36:25 again: “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.”

If the Bible is right, and it is (!), then the “baptism by immersion” groups have greatly erred and thus misled us. People who promote water baptism by immersion insist on using John’s water baptism as a pattern—failing to realize, of course, that Ezekiel limited John’s ministry to sprinkling! Preachers incessantly appeal to new Christians with, “Come, and follow Jesus in believer’s baptism. You must be immersed, by the way!” Yet, again, according to Scripture, that was not how Jesus was water baptized! John’s water baptism, to state it again and again, was sprinkling. The mode of water baptism in Israel’s program is sprinkling. Why did John urge Israel to participate in his water baptism?

John the Baptist announced in Matthew chapter 3: “[10] And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. [11] 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: [12] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Being water baptized is the only way Israel’s believing remnant can survive God’s fiery wrath at Christ’s Second Coming….

A Better Baptism #2

Thursday, September 19, 2019

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

There is a prevailing myth in Christendom that water baptism is a “New Testament ordinance.” It is assumed that water baptism does not appear in Scripture until John the Baptist (Matthew chapter 3). God’s words in Exodus chapter 29 easily dispel this as nothing but idle speculation: “[1] And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto me in the priest’s office: Take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish, [2] And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour shalt thou make them. [3] And thou shalt put them into one basket, and bring them in the basket, with the bullock and the two rams.

“[4] And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water. [5] And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod: [6] And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre. [7] Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him. [8] And thou shalt bring his sons, and put coats upon them.”

A special ceremony was to be held when Aaron and his sons were ordained to serve in the Levitical priesthood. Two particular features involved with this installation were: (1) a washing with water to be followed by (2) an anointing with olive oil. Here is the foundation for the ministry of John the Baptist. Water baptism is an Old Testament concept associated with washing Israel’s priests. As long as we keep this in mind, water baptism will be quite simple to grasp. It is when man interjects his vain suppositions that we get baffled and stumble in darkness….

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “What was ‘the forbidden fruit?’and Can you explain knowing good and evil with respect to the Garden of Eden?

Art Thou He That Should Come? #4

Thursday, July 25, 2019

“Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:2,3 KJV).

How can John the Baptist question if Jesus really is Christ/Messiah?

Father God had sent John the Baptist to announce the arrival of His Son, Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:1-8; Matthew 3:1-17; Isaiah 40:3). Yet, John, just a man, did not have unlimited insight concerning God’s Son. John had not been given Divine revelation as to the timing of the events of Christ’s life. It was not that John had grown apostate; he just did not understand that Christ’s healing miracles would continue beyond his imprisonment and execution. John had no idea that we would be here right now—20 centuries later—still waiting for God’s enemies to be judged and Earth’s governments to be cleansed of wicked rulers.

Jesus’ answer to John was, “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended [skandalidzo] in me” (Matthew 11:6; Luke 7:23). In other words, “John, happy is the man who will not find scandal or an occasion of stumbling in Me. You have no need to be embarrassed that you endorsed Me. I am who you announced Me to be. Do not lose faith.” Christ had not come to judge sin—as in, overthrow evil kings—at His First Coming. No, He had come to die for sin.

“[52] And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. [53] And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. [54] And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? [55] But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. [56] For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village” (Luke chapter 9).

“He that should come” will return at His Second Coming, to finish fulfilling the rest of the Messianic prophecies.

Art Thou He That Should Come? #3

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

“Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:2,3 KJV).

How can John the Baptist question if Jesus really is Christ/Messiah?

Today’s Scripture is key to understanding John the Baptist’s changed mind. John is “in the prison,” having never expected to wind up there! Not only was he stunned at what Jesus was doing, he was also shocked by what Jesus was not doing. John has been incarcerated for at least a year—possibly two. Why had the Lord Jesus not overthrown that corrupt king, Herod, who had imprisoned John? While free, John had warned unbelieving Israel of “the wrath to come.” Yet, the Lord was not pouring out wrath, was not liberating imprisoned John (His forerunner or heralder), and was not taking away the sin of the world (John 1:29). John was puzzled, so he sent messengers to Jesus.

Jesus had a message for John, reassuring him that He was Christ/Messiah. He was already beginning to fulfill Old Testament passages and—in due time—He would accomplish the others (namely, the wrath verses). Read today’s Scripture in context: “[2] Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, [3] And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? [4] Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: [5] The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. [6] And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”

Luke 7:22, the companion verse: “Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.” (Jesus was indeed Messiah, for when Messiah would come, healing miracles would abound—see Isaiah 35:4-6 and Isaiah 53:4 cf. Matthew 8:16-17.) John should not lose faith….

Art Thou He That Should Come? #2

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

“Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:2,3 KJV).

How can John the Baptist question if Jesus really is Christ/Messiah?

John the Baptist preached in Matthew chapter 3: “[7] But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? [8] Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: [9] And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

“[10] And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. [11] 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: [12] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

John proceeds to water baptize the Lord Jesus (verses 13-17). The Lord undergoes a series of temptations in the wilderness (4:1-11). Just beginning His earthly ministry, Jesus hears about John the Baptist’s imprisonment (4:12; cf. Luke 3:19,20). (The details of John’s arrest, incarceration, and death can be found in flashbacks recorded in Matthew 14:1-12 and Mark 6:14-29.)

The Bible says in Matthew 11:1, “And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.” Here is where today’s Scripture appears: “Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” John, in jail, is quite surprised to learn what Jesus is doing….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does 2 Corinthians 12:16 mean Paul was dishonest?

Art Thou He That Should Come? #1

Monday, July 22, 2019

“Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:2,3 KJV).

How can John the Baptist question if Jesus really is Christ/Messiah?

John the Baptist conducted his ministry along the Jordan River, just north of the Dead Sea. Matthew chapter 3: “[13] Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. [14] But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? [15] And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. [16] And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: [17] And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Now, John chapter 1: “[29] The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. [30] This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. [31] And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. [32] And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. [33] And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. [34] And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

John the Baptist confessed that he knew Jesus was the Son of God, the Anointed One whom Israel had been expecting for many centuries. Yet, ironically, in today’s Scripture, John expressed doubt concerning Jesus as Christ/Messiah. What made John change his mind? Let us search the Scriptures….