The Truth About Water Baptism
The point is, nowhere in the scriptures do we find where Jesus (always unchanged) changed, meant to change or disannuled His own great commission in Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16, and St. John 3:5.
Is there then a contradiction between what Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19;
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
and the formula the early church used, "...Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins... ", as recorded in the book of the Acts of the Apostles? No! We find no contradiction at all in the scriptures! The apostles were merely obeying exactly what Jesus had told them to do. Again, they baptized in the n-a-m-e of, not n-a-m-e-s. Name here is singular, not plural meaning there is one name, not more than one as implied by the Trinitarian interpretation of Matthew 28:19.
This is why Jesus came - to reveal the Father's name to us. Jesus, praying to the Father, says in St. John 17:6:
6 1 have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
Whose name did Jesus manifest, but the Father's as we shall also read in St. John 5:43:
43 I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
and in St. John 8:24:
24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
Who was Jesus referring to when He said "he?" Jesus was none other than God the Father himself in the flesh, according to I Timothy 3:16:
16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Who was received up into glory? Jesus! Who is believed on in the world? Jesus! And it was Jesus that was preached unto the Gentiles. Jesus wanted the apostles to know His identity, along with all the world as well. God, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, Lord; these are all titles. Jesus is the name.
Although Jesus was in the flesh, He would not give glory to the flesh. God is a spirit - we read that in St. John 4:24 - and therefore He spoke of the Father as being in heaven. This is the mystery of godliness. Though God was manifested in the flesh, He is omnipotent, everlasting, all powerful, everywhere at all times. This makes perfect sense if you just remember that God is a spirit.
Some of Jesus' own disciples wondered about this very thing when they asked Him to show them the Father in St. John 14:6-9:
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?
Let us stress once again that, according to St. John 4:24, God is a spirit:
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
How then could Thomas and Philip have seen the Father as Jesus said, knowing that the Father or God was a spirit? The answer is, God was manifest in the flesh! Let's turn to II Corinthians 5:19:
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Without a doubt Jesus is the Father in the flesh; in the New Testament as well as in the Old. In St. John 10:30, Jesus Himself said, "I and my Father are one." In Isaiah 9:6 we read:
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called
Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Jesus is the mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. He was that child that was born unto us. How else could God lay down His life for us as we read He did in the book of I John 3:16?
16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
We also read that God has purchased the church with His own blood. How then did God, being a spirit - spirits have no blood - purchase the church with his own blood? God came as a little child born of a virgin to suffer death for our sins, that we might have remission through His blood. Turn to Acts 20:28 and read:
28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Turning to Matthew 1:23, we read too that Jesus is Emmanuel:
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
What about the Holy Ghost? Who and what is it? Most people think it is the third part or person of the so-called trinity. We find this, however, is based solely on New Testament scripture while Old Testament scriptures, according to the New International Encyclopaedia, are overlooked by modern theology:
New International Encyclopaedia (Volume 22, Pg. 476)
Trinity doctrine, the Catholic faith is this: We worship one God in Trinity, but there is one person of the Father, another of the son and another of the Holy Ghost. The Glory-equal - the majesty coeternal. The doctrine is not found in it's fully developed form in the scriptures. Modern theology does not seek to find it in the Old Testament. At the time of the Reformation the Protestant Church took over the doctrine of the Trinity without serious examination.
We find evidence of the Holy Ghost in the Old Testament from Jesus Himself in Mark 12:36:
36 For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
King David himself, speaking in Psalms 51:11, said:
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
If the Holy Ghost, as is supposed by the Trinitarians, was an individual or separate person from God, why was Jesus born of the Holy Ghost? We read this in Matthew 1:18-20:
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the
Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
God is a spirit. The Holy Ghost is nothing more than a portion of God's spirit; not something separate from or with an identity apart from God, but a portion of God Himself. Mary could not contain the fullness of God, nor could King David, yet Jesus did, all power being given unto Him in heaven and in earth. Turn to St. John 3:34 where John, speaking of Jesus, said:
34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
We find further evidence of this in Paul's letter to the Colossians, Colossians 1:19:
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; Also, in Colossians 2:9:
9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
According to the New Catholic Encyclopaedia, Gregory of Nyssa, one of the most influential theologians in the days of the first Nicene Council who helped to formulate the dogma of the trinity, states that the Holy Ghost proceeded forth from the Father through the Son.
The New Catholic Encyclopaedia (Volume XIV, Pg. 301)
Here, mention should also be made, at least briefly, of the long and painfully divisive controversy over the filioque. Gregory of Nyssa, in the passage just cited, had spoken of the Son as proceeding directly from the Father, but of the Holy Spirit as proceeding from the Father through the Son as intermediary. From the Father through the son became the accepted manner of conceiving the procession of the Spirit in the East.
If this is true, how then, in the Old Testament, did the Holy Ghost proceed forth through King David, then, in the New Testament, through the virgin Mary before the birth of the Son? According to Gregory, the Holy Ghost could only come from the Father through the Son. This would limit God to moving by His spirit (Holy Ghost) alone in the New Testament.
It's very important to understand that the Son was the flesh. It was prophesied in the Old Testament that the Son would come, but it was not until the New Testament that He did come as God in the flesh! Nevertheless, there are those who say that the trinity was in the Old Testament as well as the New. The scriptures they use are far from conclusive. For example, let us look at Genesis 1:26:
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Who was God speaking to when He said, "Let us make man in our image?" Some say this is the trinity. God was speaking to the heavenly host He created to be His help: the angels that are His ministering spirits. Turn to Hebrews 1:7-8:
7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
Another scripture in Genesis people will try to use to defend the theory of trinity is Genesis 18:1-3. Again, we must keep in mind that God is a spirit and appeared unto many in the Old Testament in many manifestations. For example, He appeared to Moses in the form of a burning bush and to the Hebrew children as a pillar of fire by night and a cloud of smoke by day as they passed through the wilderness. The most interesting fact is that Abraham met God Himself in the form of a man when he returned from the slaughter of the Kings (Melchisadec) and again just before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as we read below.
1 And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,
3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:
Some suppose the three men to be the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Truly we see that one the men was God Himself, Abraham calling Him "My Lord." The other two are angels. We know this from reading on in the 19" chapter where the scripture tells us that the two who continued on to Sodom and Gomorrah were angels.
1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
Angels are not to be confused with deities or manifestations of God. They were created by God for the purpose of helping Him. As we found in Hebrews 1:7-8, they are ministering spirits. We read in Hebrews 13:2 that we must be careful to entertain strangers because they could be angels!
2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Throughout the Old Testament, and particularly in Genesis 1:26, where He said "...Let us make man in our image...", the original word for God "elohiym" was used. Elohiym, in the Hebrew tongue, is a word in the plural sense whose meaning includes not only God, but also angels. Following is a quote from the Bible concordance dictionary in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance (complete and unabridged), concerning the word elohiym.
Stong's Exhaustive Concordance, Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary (Pg. 12, #430)
Elohiym (pronounced el-o-heem') plural of elowahh or eloahh (a deity or the Deity) gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applies by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative: - angels, x exceeding, God (gods)(-dess, -ly), x (very) great, judges, x mighty.
Elohiym was used here because God was talking to the heavenly host, the angels He created as His ministering spirits, not two other gods with whom He shared His throne. There is only one true God, but there are many gods and many lords in the land. In I Corinthians 8:5-6 we read:
5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
The terms "Lord" and "Father" are often confused by Trinitarians as though they represent two different deities, yet we know that there can be only one Lord, one Father. In Jude 4, we read:
... and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Is the book of Jude talking about two lords? By no means: the Lord God and the Lord Jesus Christ are the very same one. It is important that we understand the oneness of God if we are to be baptized in His name. This is why Jesus left us the Holy Ghost, a portion of His spirit to lead us and guide us into all truth. Jesus even called the Holy Ghost the spirit of truth, which is sent to us from Him. Let us turn to St. John 14:16-18 for a moment:
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
Note here that Jesus refers to the Comforter as "he". Then, in verse 18 Jesus said, "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you." Jesus is the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father (meaning the Spirit) will send, as we read in verse 26 of the same chapter, in Jesus' name:
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Christ comes to us and ministers to us by the power of His Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost; not separate from God, but a portion of God's spirit, or God within us. We find scriptural evidence of this in many of the writings of Apostle Paul. For example, the letters to the Corinthians. In I Corinthians 6:19, Paul wrote:
19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
This is the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire which John the Baptist spoke about, meaning that the Holy Ghost would enter into our lives when we accept Christ and are baptized in water in Jesus' name. We then belong to God as yielding ourselves unto Him as He purges our lives through the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, leading us to do good works. The fire describes what the Holy Ghost does in us, burning out the impurities of our lives or, in other words, convicting us against doing those things that are displeasing to God. John clarified this just after he spoke of being baptized by the Holy Ghost and fire in Luke 3:17:
17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
What does a fan do to a fire but increase the blaze? Our lives change when we are baptized in Jesus' name and the fire begins to burn within us, burning out the chaff or that which is unprofitable to God and ourselves.
John baptized with the baptism of repentance unto Christ, but now we are baptized into Christ. The water is still necessary, but the plan of salvation is made complete by the Holy Ghost, given after Jesus ascended up on high, who is God dwelling in us through obedience to His word. In II Corinthians 6:16, we find:
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
How could God dwell in a person? God is a spirit. If the Holy Ghost was a separate person as supposed by the theory of the trinity, then you would have someone else dwelling in you other than God. Without the spirit of God we cannot go to heaven. We must be born again, according to St. John 3:5:
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.
Note that Jesus said water and spirit. To be born again, one must include the water to be born of the Spirit, and vice versa. The two elements work together as do faith and works. This was signified again at the crucifixion of Jesus when a soldier pierced His side and both blood and water issued forth (St. John 19:34-35).
34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
Also, we have further witness of this in I John 5:6:
6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
Jesus never refused anyone, yet it is our free choice as to whether of not we choose to follow Christ in water baptism. However, if we do not have His spirit dwelling in us when He comes, we will not go up to meet Him in the rapture! Let us turn to Romans 8:11:
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Also, to Colossians 1:27:
27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are all one and the same. In I John 5:7 we read:
7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
Also, in Revelation 4:2:
2 And immediately I was in the spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
Knowing that there is only one true living God who changes not, it is easy to see that there can be, and is, only one plan of salvation for all mankind. We can preach only that which we know and we know what the word of God does teach. Remember that theory is nothing more than a man's idea or philosophy, not fact. Theories cannot be proven for the very reason they are theories - lack of evidence.
Throughout the scriptures, it is clearly evident that there is only one way to baptize, and that is in the name of Jesus Christ. It is absolutely necessary that the name of Jesus be spoken or called by the minister, or the baptism will not be scripturally based and so would be invalid in the eyes of God. Colossians 3:17 stresses the importance of the use of Jesus' name:
17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Scripture is often taken out of context and the true meaning lost. One such scripture is Romans 10:9 When reading this scripture, an important thing to keep in mind is that Paul is speaking here to those that have not obeyed the gospel.
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
We believe this because we confess the Lord Jesus when we are baptized in His name, and a person must believe or his/her baptism would be in vain, according to Mark 16:16.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
You cannot baptize an unbeliever. Faith is necessary for baptism. Paul himself, speaking of his own conversion fulfills these requirements of faith by calling on the name of the Lord in baptism (Acts 22:16):
16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Paul called on the name of the Lord, not the titles Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Jesus was given the family name as we read in Ephesians 3:15:
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named ...
Let us also turn to the book of Philippians 2:9-11, where Jesus is exalted:
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
In the book of the Acts of the Apostles 4:12, we read that there is no other name to be saved by:
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Jesus' name is salvation. If we fail to take on His name in water baptism, then we are none of His. Following is an excerpt from the Encyclopaedia Britannica that demonstrates this:
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11" Edition (Vol. III, Pg. 368)
The apostolic age supplied this identification, and the normal use seems to have been "into Christ Jesus," or "in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ," or "of Jesus Christ" simply, or "of the Lord Jesus Christ."
We must be sure that our baptism is according to the scriptures. Nowhere in the word of God were people ever baptized in the titles "Father," "Son," or "Holy Ghost."
Now, let us go a little deeper into the word "baptism" itself. The word "baptism" or "baptizo" in Greek - the common language in the land during the days of the New Testament - means to immerse. The word "rantizo" means to sprinkle. These words were never interchangeable. Each had a totally different meaning. If the scriptures would have meant rantizo (sprinkling) they would have said so. It is evident that immersion was meant in every scripture dealing with baptism, because, in every instance, the original Greek word from which the word baptism was translated is "baptizo" not "rantizo." Jesus Himself gave us an example of this in St. Matthew 3:16. Remember that baptism is for the remission of sins: a new birth, a new start. Jesus, who had no sin and so didn't have to be baptized, was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He was baptized to be our perfect example in all things or, in other words, He would not ask us to do something He had not done Himself.
16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
John was the one who saw the Spirit of God descending upon Jesus like a dove. That was a vision to assure him that this was the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. We also see that Jesus came "up straightway out of the water." Why would He have been in so much water if He had only to be sprinkled? Following are authoritative references, including some from Greek texts:
Greek-English Lexicon by Liddel, Scott & Thayer
Baptism taken from Greek word Baptizo-to dip, immerse. Greek-English Dictionary by Divry's
Greek word Baptize-to immerse. Emphatic Diaglott, contains original Greek text
in every instance the Greek word baptize is translated immerse.
The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament (with Lexicon & Synonyms)
of the Christian ordinance, to immerse, submerge, to baptize Unger's Bible Dictionary
The word "baptism" is the English form of the Greek baptismos. The verb from which this noun is derived - baptizo - is held by some scholars to mean "to dip, immerse."
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance (Greek dictionary, Reference #907) baptizo, bap-tid'zo; from a derivative of 911; to make whelmed (i.e. fully wet); used only (in the New Testament) of ceremonial ablution, especially (technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism: baptist, baptize, wash.
Encyclopaedia of the Lutheran Church (Volume I, Pg. 118)
Martin Luther preferred immersion as more true to original practice.
Catholic Biblical Encyclopaedia (Pg. 61 Paragraph 2)
Immersion was oldest method employed. Buried in baptism. Romans 6:4.
World Book Encyclopaedia (Volume II, Pg. 70)
The early church practiced immersion or submerging under the water.
New Catholic Encyclopaedia (Volume II, Pg. 54, 62)
Terminology. The name baptism came from the Greek noun (Lapa, "the dipping, washing, less commonly (Luµo~, stemming from the verb Bantw, "to dip" or "immerse."
The word "baptism" is derived from the Greek, meaning "plunge" or "dip" (as in St. John 13:26. Our word "baptism" has come to mean "purify" or "cleanse:" it is helpful, in seeking an understanding of the mystery of Baptism to recall the original meaning of the term.
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.