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Home Doctrine The Doctrine of Baptisms

The Doctrine of Baptisms

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(C) Copyright by Massimo Franceschini all rights reserved

The word baptism is a Greek word, therefore is impossible to find the word baptism in the old testament because it was written in old Hebrew It means immersion and the meaning of the baptism it is not only the death in Adam and the resurrection in Jesus, but even the meaning to purify ourselves from our sins. Baptism is for the remission of the sins. . Anyway the basin for the ablutions it has a lot to do with the baptism. Probably the right word used in the old testament's times was something like "washing" and we will see why. Baptism was surely known to the Jews of the Christ's time. We have two scriptures to support this idea. John 1:19-27

And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.

21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?

23 He said, I [am] the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.

25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?

26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;

27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

"Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? " this clear question shows us that they were not surprised to see John performing this practice, otherwise the right question would have been:"What are you doing here?" They were asking only about the authority. The same problem was arised from Jesus about the same baptism in Matthew 21:23-26
And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?

24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.

25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?

26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.
if they didn't know or didn't accept the baptism they had no problem to proclaim that baptism was something unknown to them. Before to go ahead and show where it is written ,clearly, that they knew and practiced this baptism let's go ahead in reading some more verses.Isaia 1:16
Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;


I know that this verse is not decisive, let me go ahead.
Isaia 48:1
HEAR ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah,
It is not decisive this one too, but I'd say just interesting.
Acts 22:16
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Titus 3:5
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
We have here several reference in which the first leaders are referring to the baptism, using often the word "washing" or "waters of Judah" anyway we have a simple declaration by Paul to put an end to this discussion 1 Corinthians 10:1-2
MOREOVER, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;

2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;


At this point we have a proof that really baptism was performed long time before than John the Baptist did. While it is true that baptism was performed before than Jesus' time, it is true that baptism for the dead was a Gospel's ordinance. The reasons are simple, the scripture are clear in explaining this. First of all Jesus was supposed to open the door of the gate, second He was the first to proclaim them the Gospel, and third is consequential, without the first two things they couldn't accept something before to have heard about it. So baptism for the dead couldn't be performed before than Jesus time. For those simple reasons we don't have any mention but we are mentioned of the promises that they had received.
One of the most misunderstood scriptures is Matthew 16:18
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Many, specially the Catholics maintain that "the gates of the hell shall not prevail against it" means that no apostasy would have been possible in the future. Is the scripture saying that? It seems to me that Jesus is prophesying regarding the gates of Hell and that is it. We know that Jesus was supposed to open those gates Isaia 61:1
THE Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound;
Anyway there were promises in the scriptures regarding this in the old testament. Psalms 88-10
Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise [and] praise thee? Selah.
Zechariah 9:11
As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein [is] no water.
It is interesting because this verse is declaring that at that time there was no water, or no baptism for them.
Anyway the greatest prophesy regarding this is in Malachi 4:5-6
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

Malachi 4:6
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.


Having given those reference I'd like to ask :" Is baptism  necessary?"
I am asking this because many Protestants are maintaining that thanking to their doctrine:"salvation by grace" it wouldn't be more necessary to be baptized. You could go to the page "saints in Shock" on the net and you could read this declaration.
Leaving aside that baptism was performed surely before of Christ, so before of the introduction of the Gospel: John was baptizing before than Jesus started to preach is Gospel. It is interesting to note that Jesus just before to start to preach He went to John and asked to be baptized. Their discussion is so clear and important that we have to take a closer look at it. John was aware that Jesus didn't need to be baptized he was completely pure and baptism is for the remission of the sins. So John said:" I can't do it because you are pure! The answer of Jesus was:" Suffer it to be so now, FOR THUS IT BECOMETH US TO FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS" baptism

It is clear from His personal words that he SHOULD HAVE THE BAPTISM NO BECAUSE HE NEEDED BUT JUST BECAUSE he should set a perfect example by which NOBODY COULD ESCAPE TO BE BAPTIZED. THIS IS WELL EXPLAINED IN THE book OF MORMON 2 NEPHI 31:5-10
And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfill all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!

6 And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfil all righteousness in being baptized by water?

7 Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments.

8 Wherefore, after he was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove.

9 And again, it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them.

10 And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?
Another great principle taught here it is that at that time only John the Baptist had the right to do it. Instead after when Jesus begun to preach His Gospel Him and His disciples begun to baptized people and again the problem of the authority was arised, this time from the disciples of John 3:22-27
After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.

23 And John also was baptizing in AEnon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.

24 For John was not yet cast into prison.

25 Then there arose a question between [some] of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying.

26 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all [men] come to him.

27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
The last verse should be explained to the Protestants because they think to have the priesthood of the believer. Anyway going ahead in John 4:1-2 we can see that not only Jesus baptized but His disciples too
WHEN therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,

John 4:2
2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)

When Jesus started to perform baptisms the Jews came to Him and again they asked the same question Matthew 21:23-27
And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?

24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.

25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?

26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.

27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
Why Jesus told John :'Suffer it to be so now, FOR THUS IT BECOMETH US TO FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS". We have a clear answer from Jesus Himself in John 3:5
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
He was a man too and to be obedient to this law, given from His Father he should set the perfect example to mankind, no excuses, Jesus did to be obedient not because He needed but just to be obedient. Some churches maintain that Jesus saved the thief on the cross, but it is enough to read 1 Peter 3:18-19 1 Peter 4:6 and John 20:16-17 to see how wrong is their reasoning.
What is the meaning of the symbolism of the baptism?
1) Death and resurrection of mankind.
2) Washing from our sins.
3) change of your life from a life of sin to a life of obedience.
4) It represent the forgiveness given from God that is washing the dirty of our early life.
5) The birth is always in the water, think about the fetus, even the earth at the beginning was in the water.
Another reason why the baptism is essential it is because the sacrament or the supper of the Lord is connected to it. We are commanded to take it in remembrance of our baptism and in remembrance of the atonement of Jesus. See the two things in it are the wine and bread and both of them were meaning the atonement of Jesus, but now we have the water and the bread a better way to remember us that by the water we made our commitment and by the atonement (body of Christ) we are saved. The sacrament is a way to renew our covenant every week. If the baptism is no necessary, the sacrament is not necessary too, because you can't renew a covenant that you didn't do it.
Being the baptism a covenant between mankind and God, if you don't perform it you have no covenant, no blessings, no promises. If the baptism is not performed in what way it would be possible to make this covenant? and if we don't make a covenant who is bounded? Only God? it doesn't sounds fair. I invite you to take a closer look to this declaration of John Matthew 3:1-12
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

4 And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.

5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,

6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

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.

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.

Think about this:" he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? "
Baptism was the escape from the wrath to come. The Jews knew that and who acknowledged that and wanted to be saved went to him. John explained
" 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. " works should be essential. People could not be baptized and in that way avoid the covenant, but in that case they will avoid the promises too, no covenant no blessings. Somebody maintains that when Jesus did the atonement there were no more need of baptism, that is a lye Jesus before to go in heaven gave this clear commandment to His disciples Matthew 28:19-20
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:
If the baptism was not necessary this command would have been useless.
God makes His covenants sacred. Speaking about the priesthood is clarified that the Melchisedek priests they have to take an oath Hebrew 7:17-21
For he testifieth, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Hebrews 7:18
18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope [did]; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

20 And inasmuch as not without an oath [he was made priest]:

21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
This is what we do in our church.
In Hebre 6:2 Paul is speaking regarding:"Of the doctrine of baptisms" Why he is using the plural? Because He in another place is speaking regarding another baptism 1 Corinthians 15:29
Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

Very good question, all is connected to John 3:5
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Dead or alive for the Lord is the same, He wants His family back. He made His plane perfect, everybody should have the same opportunity.
I heard somebody say this:" "They" were the bodies of the person deceased to be immersed" This is pure wrong assumption. This guy was trying to paraphrase Paul to make his point and though he tryed harder the phrase in that way doesn't make any sense. The word "they can't be subject and object at the same time for a simple reason if Paul meant that he should have written"Why are they baptized for themselves?" This is the correct phrase. I checked in my Italian Bible and the correct translation is "why are they baptized for the dead?"
The doctrine of the baptism for the dead, connected obviously with genealogy, is another peculiar doctrine of our church. for a better look to this doctrine I suggest you to read "a perfect plan" I want only to add here if the baptism was necessary to make a covenant here on earth, it should have been the same in the spiritual world. Even if it is true that Jesus proclaimed His Gospel there like Peter declared in Peter 3:18-19
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

1 Peter 3:19
19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
and 1 Peter 4:6
For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
It is very reasonable to think that He preached His Gospel to them , no just another Gospel but the same so John 3:5 too, same principle, same ordinances.
Because like Malachi 4:5-6 was warning.
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

Malachi 4:6
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
They had a promise in Psalms 88:10-12
Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise [and] praise thee? Selah.
They were awaiting for the Messiah Isaiah 61:1
THE Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound;
Their problem was Zechariah 9:11
As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein [is] no water.
At this point you should be able to understand why Paul was speaking about "baptisms".

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 09:52  

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