Baptisms - From genesis to reveLATION
We are all aware of the basic meaning of the word “baptism” that it is from the Greek baptizo which means to immerse and from another word bapto which by implication refers to the dying of a garment. In our case as regards baptism into Christ we have gone down into water to associate ourselves with the death and burial of Christ with a view to coming forth to a newness of life. In this, we have the prospect of immortal life, to be like the now glorious body of Christ. That is one baptism. We are of course familiar with Israel being baptised into Moses in passing through the Red Sea but there are other baptisms and we have time now to consider them and make a catalogue.
So lets consider baptisms from Genesis to Revelation:
- Starting with Genesis. First of all, the earth itself was baptized (Gen. 1:1), covered in water with nothing living upon it. Then the earth emerged from the water and new life with all its prospects came about. This same figure is conveyed also in another event, the second baptism in our list:
- There is the Baptism of Noah’s day of which our Baptism is a like figure (as 1 Peter 3:19-22). Noah preached, not Christ personally, but it speaks of the Spirit, the inspiration of Noah preaching the means of salvation via the ark (those who heard are all in the grave – awaiting judgement at Christ’s return). In 2 Peter 2v 5, he is called a “preacher of Righteousness”. There was an immediate deliverance for those in the Ark, so 1 Peter 3:20 speak of the eight souls saved by water. In the Ark itself we have a wonderful type of Christ. The faith of Noah is spoken of by Paul in Hebrews 11:7.
- The next Baptism we can consider is spoken of in 1 Corinthians 10:1-2. That this was understood by the Jews to be a baptism comes out from the question put to John the Baptist John 1v24-25. Moses had spoken of that prophet like unto Moses and it appears that they understood that they had been baptised into Moses and were therefore expecting Baptism by the prophet like unto Moses. Similarly expecting that Elias would come before hand perhaps they thought he might do the work of Baptism by way of being a servant to the Messiah.
The baptism into Moses marked the end of the Egyptian sojourn of Israel, a condemnation of the Egyptian world and all that pertained to it, and the salvation of Israel introducing them into the Mosaic Age, separated henceforth from the darkness of Egypt into the Glory of the Mosaic constitution of things. Was it a baptism in the cloud and a baptism into the sea ? A double baptism see Exod. 14:19 and 22? It was a national Baptism for Israel, as distinct from the individual type of Baptism which pertains to us.
- Naaman’s Baptism. This man obeyed the prophet’s command, and “dipped himself seven times in Jordan.” This is another baptism and is often cited in lectures, on the subject of Baptism, to show the need for humbling oneself to comply with God’s requirements. It is noted also that this was a baptism in the Jordan for the cleansing of the flesh and is an obvious type for our baptism and of the need for the ultimate cleansing necessary because of sin in the flesh.
- Jonah’s Baptism for surely we can call it that, must be catalogued. He is also typical of our Lord as the Jesus himself said.
- We come to John’s Baptism Mat. 3:1-6. He preached the Gospel of repentance and invited them to repent and be baptised. He also spoke of a greater Baptism, verse 11 and we will speak of this later. John’s baptism, though in the days of the law, was further to the law and he preached a greater one to follow. Those who believed this meant that those baptised like the Apostles needed no further baptism of water to follow seeing they had faith in the Promised one to follow. Any coming to John in faith were of course realizing, even though they might not fully comprehend it, that the blood of bulls and of goats could not take away their sins. And he taught the people about the one to follow John 1v19-34.
Jesus himself was baptised of John Matt 3v13-14. Jesus had the righteousness of the Law of course but understood this was insufficient for life eternal v15. Coming forth from the waters of Baptism he had the righteousness of faith, faith in his coming sacrifice that the righteousness of God should be declared in his death and the way of eternal life opened up v 16-17. It constituted a baptism into the Yahweh name and he was given the Holy Spirit without measure and became God manifest in the flesh, Yahweh in a son.
It has to be noted that John’s baptism was indeed a Baptism from Heaven (Mark 11:30).
Jesus’ disciples baptised according to the Baptism of John so we are not adding to our catalogue of Baptisms as such John 4:1-2 but we presume that all baptised from the time of Jesus’ own baptism must have believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the one promised, the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.
- Jesus speaks of another Baptism in Matthew 20:20-23. Here, he is speaking of his death and sacrifice and his resurrection to life eternal. He said of James and John that they should partake of this baptism – meaning for them a violent death followed of course by a resurrection to eternal life (and perhaps this was the case for all the Apostles, though the record of this is lacking in the main).
- Baptism No 8 was instituted on the Day of Pentecost. Those baptised from Pentecost onwards (Acts 2:37-38, Acts 8:12) were immersed into the Yahweh name: and this is still the Baptism of our Day. One must understand the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ, understanding that the lifting up of Jesus, one without transgression, was necessary for the taking away of the sin of the world.
Jesus himself elaborates the Name for us in Matt 28v19. This baptism is into his death as Paul says Rom 6v2-5 and could therefore properly be preached from the Day of Pentecost onwards. And just as Noah in building the Ark condemned the world of flesh this is same mind as those baptised of the Apostle’s baptism.
- We come to Baptism No 9. On the day of Pentecost also there was a fulfilment of John’s prophecy concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit Matt 3:11. So we have Acts 2:1-3. Paul received this baptism of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of Ananias, we understand, before he was baptized in water Acts 9:17-18 although fire is not spoken of. See the example of Cornelius also Acts 10:44-47 later described by Peter Acts 11:15 “as on us at the beginning” so was there fire?
We have entitled our Bible Class Baptisms from Genesis to Revelation. In the book of Revelation Baptism is not mentioned as such but of course at the return of Christ, which is featured in the Book, there will be a bringing of Jews out of Egypt, after the defeat of Gog in Egypt. There is then a National Baptism of part of Israel into Christ in the 6th Vial period which means we can call this Baptism 10.
- We find the proof in Psalm 68:22. Not into Moses nationally, but into Christ nationally for the purification of a people to be the citizens of the Kingdom of God. As a nation they are considered all righteous see Isa 60:21.
And seeing it is Elijah’s work in the 7th vial to bring the remainder of the Jews from all corners of the earth might he not nationally baptise them into Christ likewise, as the Jews were expecting him to do? And after the example of John the Baptist. So this 10th Baptism is the national baptism of the mortal Israelites into Christ as in a day before they were baptised into Moses.
Bringing our remarks to a close might we suggest that during the Millennium individual Baptism into Christ by water will still be required as it is now for salvation, the belief of the kingdom of God (and its continuance ever) and the name of Jesus Christ being essential for those baptised for the remission of their sins.
(From a Bible Class given at Southwick on Oct 23, 2022)