Israel’s Three Prophetic Baptisms #3

Thursday, July 12, 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 #3: He shall baptize you with fire.”

Read today’s Scripture with its context (John the Baptist is warning Israel’s unbelieving religious leaders): “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… he [Jesus Christ] that cometh after me is mightier than I… he shall baptize you… with fire: 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” (verses 10-12; cf. Luke 3:16,17).

Like John’s water baptism and Pentecost’s “Holy Ghost baptism,” this “fire baptism” was prophesied in the Old Testament. The LORD had told Israel through the prophet Joel (2:30,31) that after He would pour out His Spirit: “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come [Christ’s Second Coming].” This will be fulfilled during the seven-year Tribulation, culminating with Christ’s Second Coming to establish His kingdom (Matthew 24:29,30a; cf. Mark 13:24-26; Luke 21:25-27).

Why will Jesus Christ baptize Israel with fire? The context of today’s Scripture (verses 10-12) explains this “fire baptism” is God’s wrath: the fire at Christ’s Second Coming will purge out and remove from earth the unbelieving Jews in Israel (Zechariah 13:8,9; cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Consequently, only believing Jews will remain to ultimately enter Christ’s earthly kingdom (only saved Jews can be God’s priests).

Israel’s Three Prophetic Baptisms #2

Wednesday, July 11, 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 #2: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.”

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 explains to them that he is baptizing with water, but Israel’s Messiah (Jesus) will later “baptize [Israel] with the Holy Ghost” (today’s Scripture; cf. Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33,34).

Like John’s water baptism, this “Holy Ghost baptism” was prophesied in the Old Testament. The LORD had told Israel through the prophet Joel (2:28,29): “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.”

In Acts 1:5 Jesus reminded His Jewish disciples, “…Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” John the Baptist, Joel, and Jesus Christ are certainly speaking of the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2). In fact, the Apostle Peter tells Israel on the day of Pentecost that God pouring out His Holy Spirit on them and their speaking in tongues are the fulfillment of what Joel had spoken 800 years earlier (Acts 2:16-18 cf. Joel 2:28,29).

Why is God pouring out His Holy Spirit on Israel? He is preparing them for their kingdom, when His Holy Spirit will empower them to do His will in the earth (Luke 24:47-49)!

Israel’s Three Prophetic Baptisms #1

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).

Matthias or Paul? #1

Friday, April 13, 2012

“And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:26 KJV).

Who should have been Judas Iscariot’s replacement? Some have erroneously concluded that Paul should have filled Judas’ office. Were the eleven apostles wrong in selecting Matthias, as some claim? Why not look at the Scriptures, instead of relying on idle speculation?

Let us read from Acts chapter 1: “20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. 21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.”

Firstly, Judas’ replacement had to have followed Jesus Christ during the entire course of His earthly ministry, from John the Baptist to His ascension in Acts chapter 1. Paul does not fit these qualifications. In fact, Saul of Tarsus (Paul) was unsaved until Acts chapter 9, a year after Christ’s ascension!

Continue reading in Acts chapter 1: “23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, 25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.”

In the above Scriptures, we see Who actually chose Matthias. It was neither Peter nor the other ten apostles. It was the Lord! Lord, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen.” Are we so bold as to say God was wrong to appoint Matthias instead of Paul? We had better not be so foolish.

Furthermore, Matthias, not Paul, will reign over Israel in Judas’ stead in Christ’s millennial kingdom (Matthew 19:27,28). God did not make Paul Judas’ replacement, for Paul would serve another role….

I Will Also Ask of You One Question

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

“And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders, and say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?” (Mark 11:27,28 KJV).

In today’s Scripture, Israel’s religious leaders are up to their usual tricks. By asking Him, “By what authority doest thou these things and who gave thee this authority to do these things?,” they are trying to trip up our Lord Jesus, to make Him stumble in His speech, and to intimidate Him into silence. Will it work, or not?

Verses 29-33 continue, “And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me. And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed. And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things” (cf. Matthew 21:23-27; Luke 20:1-8).

These chief priests, scribes, and elders were being dishonest, and Jesus knew their hearts. Why did Jesus ask them that question? God the Father sent both Jesus (John 6:39) and John the Baptist (John 1:6), so if these religious leaders could not admit to Jesus that God the Father had sent John, then Jesus would be wasting His breath to tell them God the Father sent Him (Jesus). This is why Jesus did not answer them.

In these verses, we read of Jesus Christ’s authority and wisdom. Because they refused God’s truth, the Lord Jesus decided to outwit them by asking one simple question (“He taketh the wise in their own craftiness;” Job 5:13; 1 Corinthians 3:19). Wow!

The Little Flock #4

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32 KJV).

When Jesus Christ came to the nation Israel, He came to fulfill hundreds of Old Testament prophetic statements. He was the Messiah-King of whom God’s holy prophets had spoken for centuries. Israel’s long-prophesied kingdom was finally going to be established!

But, most Jews rejected Jesus as King-Messiah (John 1:11), eventually demanding the Romans crucify Him. In John 19:15 they cried, “We have no king but Caesar!” The few Jews who trusted in Jesus as their Messiah received John the Baptist’s water baptism (Matthew 3:1-6; Mark 1:1-5). They became Israel’s believing remnant (this was “the church” that followed the twelve apostles’ doctrine in early Acts [2:41-47]; cf. John 21:15-17).

John also warned that Jews who refused his message and water baptism would be “baptized with fire” (Matthew 3:7-12; Luke 3:7-9, 16-17). We know this as the period of God’s wrath, the seven-year Tribulation. The twelve apostles in Acts chapters 1-8 were unsuccessful in converting every Jew (a prerequisite for the kingdom). Now, God was about to pour out His wrath on rebellious Israel. But, God temporarily paused Israel’s prophetic program, and postponed that wrath and earthly kingdom.

Today, we live the Dispensation of Grace, separate from Israel’s kingdom program. But, when our dispensation ends (at the rapture), God will return to Israel and begin the seven-year Tribulation. God will continue the “little flock” by saving one-third of Israel, bringing them through that wrath (Zechariah 13:8,9; Matthew 24:15-21; Revelation 13:6,14-17). But, unbelieving Jews, as John predicted, will burn up in God’s wrath (cf. Matthew 24:36-44).

After Christ’s Second Coming to conclude the seven years, the “little flock” of the Tribulation will join the resurrected members of the “little flock” of Christ’s earthly ministry and early Acts, and the resurrected Old Testament believers. This entire group will inherit that earthly kingdom (today’s Scripture; Matthew 25:34).

The “little flock” should not be confused with us, the Church the Body of Christ. We believers in this dispensation will inherit God’s kingdom in the heavens (2 Corinthians 5:1; Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 2:6,7; 2 Timothy 4:18).

The Little Flock #3

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32 KJV).

According to the Abrahamic Covenant, God’s purpose in forming the nation Israel was to make her a kingdom of priests through which He would send salvation and blessings to the world (Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5,6; et al.). Sadly, during the 2,000-year period between Abraham and Christ, sinful Israel drifted from JEHOVAH. Furthermore, Satan kept Israel from becoming what God wanted her to be. The devil sent false prophets to deceive and encourage Israel to embrace pagan idol worship (Deuteronomy 13:1-18; Jeremiah 6:13; 2 Peter 1:21–2:3; et al.).

Just before her Messiah-King Jesus comes, the Jews are “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 9:36; Matthew 10:6; Matthew 15:24). So, God sends John the Baptist to “make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17). John preaches, “Repent ye, the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2).

The Jews who believe and obey John’s message of “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” form the “little flock,” the believing remnant in Israel (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 13:24). Contrariwise, the remaining Jews refuse John’s baptism and message, and thus willingly continue in apostasy and spiritual blindness (Luke 7:29,30).

When Jesus’ ministry begins, shortly after John began his ministry, He preaches to Israel the message John proclaimed: “the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15; cf. Matthew 4:17). John’s converts now begin to follow Jesus (their Messiah); this includes the twelve apostles (John 1:40ff).

Jesus then sends the twelve apostles to convert the rest of Israel and continue forming the “little flock” (Matthew 10:5-7). Once Jesus dies, is buried, is raised again, and is ascended, He again sends the twelve apostles to convert the remaining Jews (the first eight chapters of Acts).

Unfortunately, most of Israel remained in unbelief, so God temporarily paused their program and opened our dispensation. But, Israel’s program will resume one day. Then, as today’s Scripture says, God will give the “little flock” their earthly kingdom!