Hebrew Roots/The original foundation/Baptism
THE ORDINANCE OF WATER BAPTISM
The word "Baptism" is a transliteration of the Greek word BAPTIZO which means to immerse. In Hebrew it is referred to as a MIKVEH - an immersion. Basically it is an immersion into another substance, for the purpose of being saturated by it, such as water in this instance.The new covenant also presents the immersion of a believer "in the Spirit of God" and also "with Fire". Matthew 3:11
THE ORDINANCE OF BAPTISM
Baptism, as it has been known in the gospel age, is not a new ordinance. In the text of Hebrews 6: 1-2, it is "baptisms" - plural, as there is more than one type of baptism in scripture. These are -- 1. The baptism of creation to life - Genesis 1 & 7; 2 Peter 3: 6-7 2. The baptism of Moses from Egypt - Exodus 14:19-31; 1 Corinthians 10: 1-4 3. The baptism of Ritual Cleansing - Leviticus 8: 5-9; Numbers 8: 6-7; 19:13, 20 4. The baptism of John unto repentance - Matthew 3: 1-6 5. The baptism of Y'shua into His Body - Romans 6:3-5 6. The baptism in the Spirit of God for ministry - Matthew 3:11 & Luke 3:16 7. The baptism of fire for purification - Matthew 3:11 & Luke 3:16; 1 Peter 4:12-16
In the beginning, the creation in it's disordered state was immersed in water and it was through the operation of the Spirit brooding upon the waters that He brought forth order out of chaos, and created new life. Genesis 1: 1-10
The ordinance of immersion originated at creation in the birthing of the earth out of it's submerged state under the water. When Yahweh gathered the waters together into seas, He caused the earth to be resurrected out of it's watery grave which in effect, was the 'womb' from which it came forth. The word used for 'gathered waters' in verse 10 is "mikveh". The mikveh waters were actually the womb of creation from which He brought forth new life out of it's former state of 'death'.
Water is always used as a cleansing, purifying agent in His purposes to initiate a change from one state of existence to another. It was the element of water that was used in conjunction with the Spirit's power upon the waters, initiated by the Word of God that effected the purposes of Father God. This is the prototype of all other forms of baptism or ritual immersions.
The creation was again cleansed and purified by water with the flood of Noah's day. Peter calls this a baptism of the earth. There are two elements used by Yahweh for cleansing - water and fire. The earth was cleansed by water the first time, during the flood. The second time it will be cleansed by fire (immersed in fire), as it is written in 2 Peter 3: 6-7 and Matthew 3:12
The whole nation of Israel was baptised "into Moses" when they went through the Red Sea which separated them and cleansed them from the influence of Egypt which represented the world and it's lifestyle, before being taken to the promised land. The waters of the Red Sea allowed them to pass from one state of existence to another, from the status of bondage and slavery to that of freedom with the status of sonship; to become a nation with an unique calling and destiny. Exodus chs.12-14; 19:10
Having gone through the mikveh of the Red Sea, they were commanded to undergo ritual cleansing before approaching Yahweh and entering into covenant with Him at Sinai (Exodus 19:10). This became an ordained ritual for all necessary natural and spiritual cleansing and for all acts of consecration and spiritual offerings. Leviticus 14: 8-9; 13:54-58; 1: 7-9, 10-13; 8:18-21
It applied to all changes of status in life where one progressed from one state of existence to another as a process of cleansing and renewal for the transition to the new appointment or position in life. It is an acknowledgment that Yahweh God is the source of all life and it is a commitment to live from the enabling which He imparts for the new status in life.
It is undertaken before marriage and before the Bar Mitzvah, before deeper consecration or religious study, after life-changing experiences or enlightenment that initiate a change in one's spiritual status or calling. It is also taken before consecrated days.
In undergoing the mikveh waters, the person is considered to have been saturated by the Spirit of God and to be "re-born" or "born again" by His creative power, so as to enter into a more elevated state of spiritual life for their new status. John 3:10, 3
The priests were required to undergo ritual immersion when being consecrated into the priesthood and also after that, in cases where they would become defiled by contact with that which was unclean. Leviticus 8: 5-9; Numbers 8: 6-7; 19:13, 20
The Talmud, Mishnah tells us that the High priest immersed himself five times and washed his hands and feet ten times during the sacrifices and in ministering the office on Yom Kippur ( Moed, Yoma 3 Mishneh 3). The Mikveh was the means of maintaining a state of ritual purity before a holy God.
"The voice of one crying in the wilderness; Prepare ye the way of the Lord; Make his paths straight. " ... ... And all flesh shall see the salvation of God" Luke 3:4,6
After 400 years of silence, John came on the scene as a voice crying out in a spiritual wilderness of hypocritical fundamentalism, legalism and unbelief, to call the nation back to repentance and prepare the way for the Messiah.
"John came baptising in the wilderness and preaching a baptism for remission of sins" Mark 1: 4
John's call to repentance recorded in the gospels, was echoed through the "Days of Awe" which preceded Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets) when each year the nation sought repentance and cleansing from past sins to enable them to pass through the coming judgment day of Yom Kippur. The baptism in which he officiated was in the month before that yearly preparation for the most holy day of the religious year. His baptism was an immersion "unto repentance" based upon the ordinances of ritual cleansing.
Remission of sin by baptism (ritual cleansing, the Mikveh) was an established practice in Israel and was understood to be a work of the Spirit of Yahweh God for inner cleansing from sin and defilement, based upon true repentance. John's Mikveh immersion, was an outward symbol of a mystical inner change that enabled repentant individuals to enter into an elevated state (i.e. a higher spiritual state) to prepare them to receive the Spirit of God and enter the Kingdom of God. John 3: 5
It was believed that the Messiah would come on one of the Sabbaths (weekly or Festival Sabbaths) and that either he or Elijah would be commissioned to immerse the nation in the Jordan, as Joshua had done, in preparation for the Messianic kingdom. This was the reason that the Pharisees sent priests and Levites to question John as to whether he was the Messiah, the Prophet, or Elijah (Deut.18:15; John 1:19-26). Hence, the statement of John coming in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way of Messiah.
John, officiating in the priestly office, referred to 'One' coming after him who was greater than he 'whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose' - that 'he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit' Mark 1: 7, 8
John was speaking of something beyond the baptism of repentance which he was proclaiming which was the baptism which Y'shua would authorise in the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) which we understand to have been enacted in Acts 2: 1-4.
John was preparing the way for the coming kingdom and initiating its subjects to receive their King. He was heralding the dawn of the new day. He was the last prophet of the old order pointing the way to the birth of the kingdom on earth of which all the prophets had spoken. Now was the time!
"Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" Matthew 3: 2 The first requirement to enter the kingdom was repentance!
A SPIRITUAL KINGDOM
Y'shua said that no greater prophet than John had been born, but that those thereafter that were pressing into the kingdom, were greater than he. Matthew 11:11-12
It was a new concept that the birth of the kingdom upon earth was spiritual in the hearts of men primarily, most were looking for the Messiah to establish the kingdom in a literal way as an earthly dominion. The kingdom of heaven was a spiritual kingdom into which men were being born and the first step toward that was repentance and remission of sins. And so men came to John in the river Jordan confessing their sins and being baptised. Matthew 3: 6
Y'shua spoke to Nicodemus of being 'born again', not a new concept, but a different application of being born of spirit and of water into the kingdom of God. A spiritual birth into the kingdom! (John 3: 3-5)
The disciples of Y'shua were some of those who had responded to John's baptism and been cleansed. The religious leaders largely did not, they were too self-righteous and although John was of the true priestly lineage, he was outside their instituted order (John 1:21-25). They rejected the counsel of God coming through Yahweh's ordained prophet and priest. Luke 7:30
Y'shua also came to be baptised by John 'to fulfil all righteousness' by submitting to His Father's instituted order of priesthood as well as by undergoing the ordained method of preparation, for His change of status into a commission for ministry. In everything Y'shua followed His heavenly Father's established order and fulfilled the conditions for His ordination.
John identified him as the "Lamb of God' which takes away the sin of the world, the Messiah, and the disciples followed Him (John 1:29-37) to go on in their preparation and eventually receive the promised deposit of the Holy Spirit. (John 20:22)
It was not necessary for Y'shua to be baptised - He had no sins to confess that needed cleansing. As John said 'I need to be baptised by You, and You are coming to me?' Matthew 3:14
Y'shua answered him 'Permit it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness' Matthew 3:15
Fulfilling all righteousness involved obedience to the Levitical law. All priests were consecrated when they came to 30 years of age. It is recorded that Y'shua 'began to be about 30 years of age' when he came to John. (Number 4: 3 & Luke 3:23)
The consecration was two-fold 1. Washing i.e. baptism 2. Anointing (Exodus 29: 4-7; Leviticus 8: 6-36)
Through His baptism, in the washing of the water and the anointing of the Ruach HaKodesh in the form of a dove (Matt.3:16), He was fulfilling the Father's righteous requirements of ritual cleansing for consecration under the Levitical priesthood, and also for the new status of ordination to His Eternal Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4 & Hebrews 7:21). He was thus legally justified and divinely consecrated for the work of redemption. (Ex.29:4 ; Acts 4:27; & 10:38)
His ministry in the Melchizedek priesthood was to supersede the Levitical and the legitimate transfer from one order to the other had to be effected by the God-ordained priest of the day, which was John, and the Holy Spirit witnessed to this ordination.
It was a common experience in the old order to experience a divine commissioning to the ministry through visible signs and manifestations, visions and/or an audible voice from heaven, through the act of 'baptism' (the Mikveh).
This type of acknowledgment as a "son" of the father was a Hebraic concept of being called to a specific ministry in a prophetic role for the Most High. Luke 3:22; 24:19; Matthew 3:16-17
Being called His 'Beloved Son' was an acknowledgment of His calling to be the second 'son' (as Adam was the first), a son who would redeem mankind and be the progenitor of a new order of 'man'. Luke 3:38; 1 Corinthians 15:45- 49
In His baptism, Y'shua was identifying Himself as the Son of man in the sinner's need of cleansing for His role of taking man's place as the last 'Adam', and as such He submitted to the Father's ordinance of Baptism (the mikveh) His first commission was to go out into the wilderness and be tempted of the devil, to succeed where Adam had failed in withstanding the temptations of the enemy. In submitting Himself in obedience to the ordinances of His Father, and as the first and prototype of a new order and for an example to all who would follow, He needed to undergo the rite of this baptism.
John forbade Him as he knew that He was the Messiah, the Lamb of God and the Baptiser in the Holy Spirit (John 1:30, 33 & Matthew 3:11). But, as Y'shua said, 'allow it now' (literal translation) i.e. for the purpose of fulfilling the principles of the law.
As part of His call to the ministry prepared for Him by the Father, He also fulfilled the type of the sacrificial lamb being taken to the Levitical priests to be ceremonially washed before being offered. See Leviticus 1:9,13; 2 Chronicles 4:6 & Hebrews 9:9,10. Zacharius, John's father, was a Levite and being the first-born, John was in line to become a priest (by birth he was a priest - Luke 1:5, 8), and therefore he had the authority to officiate in the washing of the sacrifice to be offered.
The ceremonial washing in the old order looked forward toward that perfect sacrifice which would come which would complete for all time the offerings for sin. See Hebrews 9:24-28; John 1:29
It was in His baptism that He was ordained and consecrated to His priestly role of making sacrifices to the Father for the sins of the people through John who officiated in the transfer of the priestly office from the Levitical, to the order of Melchizedek and conferred that priestly office upon Y'shua. Hebrews 7:12, 14-17
In His baptism He was being inaugurated as both the priest and a sacrifice. Hebrews 10:12,14 & 1 Peter 3:18
Y'shua was born a king (Matthew 2: 2; John 1:49) and He was anointed for His prophetic and priestly role in His baptism. And so, Y'shua went out anointed as prophet, priest and king, to be tested by the enemy and secure His eternal inheritance as the second Adam/type of man in that which the first man, Adam, had lost. (Luke 4:1)
THE VALIDATION OF HIS MINISTRY
In effect Y'shua had a threefold witness to His ordination as the sacrificial lamb and as a priest of the new order. The Water, the Spirit and the Father's testimony. These three bore witness, two in heaven and one upon the earth. That was a valid witness according to Yahweh's divine principles. (2 Corinthians 13:1; Hebrews 6:18)
See 1 John 5:6-8 - there are five things named that can bear witness. In this instance we have two from the 'godhead' and one earthly element, water. The Father and the Spirit witnessed to His Baptism (in the water) for His ministry.
"There was a man sent from God whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe." John 1: 6-7