From the teaching Yeshua's Disciple: Baptism
February 27, 2017
Baptism is a controversial subject matter amongst many of different affiliations, but one thing that is clear is that our Messiah explicitly instructs His disciples to carry it out (Matthew 28:19). So, why is there so much confusion surrounding this topic? As usual, it all comes down to position and execution. Do you view it as a sacrament or an initiation into the faith? What does it mean? Is this a completely novel concept to those in Yeshua's day? Is baptism the equivalent of the Mikvah? Do you dunk, sprinkle, or submerge? The list can go on. I know that when I was baptised at 12 years old, my sole reason for taking the plunge (along side a very big and very dead spider) was because I didn't want to go to hell if I died. Something the preacher said really got to me and I decided I needed to "save" myself. Many others can probably relate to that former mindset, but as an adult, my understanding of baptism has evolved and continues to evolve as Father reveals.
In Genesis 3 we can already see the seeds of YeHoVaH's plan to redeem creation. Man's disobedience leads to our separation from the Creator and in that day we died in sin and will remain dead and captives to sin until we are born again in Messiah. Okay, got it! We must be born again in Messiah in order not to be dead in sin. How do we do that? A short summary is found in Mark 16:16. Believe in the gospel and be baptised. That probably will create frowns, but if you know what every word in the previous statement means, then you'll know what is being communicated. That brief declaration packs a heap of information. Believe: to trust. To believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of YeHoVaH. If we believe He desires us to keep His commandments to remain free and have life, then we will. Gospel: a good message. What is this good message? The promised Messiah has now come and in the process redeemed us from the law of sin and death, reconciled us back to the Father, given us power over the works of the enemy, and His spirit to operate in our hearts so we can walk out His commandments in spirit and truth. That certainly IS good news! Baptise: to immerse, submerge. The way it's used throughout Scripture in this context points to a full body submersion. Baptism of water and Spirit is part of the method by which we are brought into the Kingdom of YeHoVaH (John 3:5). We are commanded to be baptised for the remission (cancellation of our debt) of sin and to receive the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:38. One thing that Marcus explained in the teaching that I won't go much further into here is how the Mikveh, as explained in Judaism, is a component of Judaism. It's not seen in Scripture in the way it's presented in Judaism. Elements of Scripture have been renamed and reworked into a system of manmade rituals not supported entirely by the Book.
So, after the teaching, good questions were posed. One concerned the thief on the cross and his pardon by Yeshua and his obvious non-baptised status. That's a good point and one thing that stuck out to me was that this occurred prior to the instruction given in Mark 16:16. Even so, what about all the others that came before the resurrection and subsequent instruction? They didn't have this baptism did they? Are they not saved? Abraham and other righteous men and women? I don't want to open a can of worms as I myself am still learning about this topic. Another question pointed out that if no one is permitted to add to or take away from Torah (Deut. 4:2), why is this commanded and where does this come from? For me there is a certain level of mystery surrounding this area, among many other themes in Scripture. It's beautifully mystifying. But remember in John 3 when Nicodemus was chided for not understanding Yeshua's account of being born again? It's implied that Nicodemus should have had some understanding of this topic. Where do you find it explained in the Old Testament? What we do have is YeHoVaH putting the gears in motion in Genesis 3 for mankind's redemption like I stated above. The giving of the Spirit of Life, disobedience, death, redemption, and rebirth in His Spirit IS the theme running throughout the Book! Why are we even here? What is our purpose? What was Nicodemus even supposed to be teaching? It's so easy to let the monotony of life make us focus on the physical and neglect the spiritual but the point is that we are born dead. Dead in sin. We exalt ourselves and our pleasures over everything. If we look at the people of the book and say, "I'd never worship that god or this god". Don't be so certain. The ancient world was a very religious world with many gods to worship on the scene, but it's no different now. Instead of Baal on the throne, and I say this respectfully, YOU are on the throne. You are all that matters. In reality, the people of old worshipped themselves as much as modern man. We are done a disservice when we constantly read about them worshipping physical idols and think it doesn't relate to us. It's the same spirit and it still lives today. This is why we must die and be born again. Now I don't understand all the ins and outs of everything related to what it literally and figuratively means, but Paul writes in Romans 6:4-7 that we are buried with Messiah through baptism into death and raised up so we should walk in newness of life. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. If you can understand that, then you have plenty to work with.
YeHoVaH is sovereign and set forth a system and structure for us that have come into agreement with Him to adhere to. Yeshua, the Word made flesh, upheld that structure and established it. We need to follow it if we believe that He is the Prophet Moses said we must listen to in Deuteronomy 18:15. If someone can't fulfill the structure He set forth, does that mean they are doomed? Honestly, I wouldn't let that question cause uneasiness or apprehension. Remember that we serve a just Creator and His ways are higher than ours. Every last one of us will stand before this righteous Elohim and be rendered justice fair and balanced. It is His privilege to decide, but this day, if you believe what you read, then just like everything else.....DO IT.