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 BAPTISM

 

Its Meaning, Methods, and Recipients

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Rooney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 BAPTISM

Its Meaning, Methods, and Recipients

                                                   Copyright © 2012                                                  

By James P. Rooney

All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: All Scripture used is from the New King James Version (NKJV).

 

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

Page

Preface ………………………………………………………………………………………...4

Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………..5

Chapter:

1     The Purpose of Baptism……………………………………………….……….7

2     The Meaning of Baptism……………………………………………………..10

3     A Sacrament or Ordinance?………………………………………………..14

4     The Biblical Case for Sprinkling……………………………………….….16

5     The Biblical Case for Pouring……………………………………………...21

6     The Biblical Case for Immersion………………………………………...26

7     New Testament Cases of Baptism……………………………………….29

8     Concluding Thoughts on the Methods of Baptism……………...34

9     The Biblical Case for Baptizing Believers Only…………………...37

10   The Biblical Case for Baptizing Infants of Believers…………...39

11   Concluding Thoughts on the Recipients of Baptism…………...56

12   Epilogue…………………………………………………………………………………58

 

 

 

 

 

Preface

 

The purpose of this book is to show the biblical basis of the differing viewpoints regarding Christian baptism.  This will be a positive approach making a strong case in support of each position.  In writing this book, I have two goals.

First, I want to share this information to help some Christians be more informed on this subject. Second, I want to increase the level of tolerance among some believers who may be critical of the way other Christians practice baptism.

I hope this book with be a help to others and accomplish these two important objectives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

 

Baptism is a subject that has caused much division within Christ’s church.  It is one of those issues about which, when we look to the Bible for answers we have difficulty discerning the truth. I have written this book to try to put these differences among Christians concerning baptism in their proper perspective. We, in the body of Christ, must have an understanding and tolerant attitude toward each other when it comes to the differences in the way we practice some aspects of our Christian worship.  This tolerance is not to accept error but to have honor, respect, and acceptance toward those differences the Bible does not clearly address.

It is my hope that this book will provide a better understanding of our Christian brethren who worship God with baptism differently than others do.  Let us not criticize or deny the validity of the baptisms of others without specific scriptural authority. 

Fine Christian men and women have disagreed concerning several aspects of baptism which will be discussed in this book.  Many of these people have spent much time studying this subject and have sincerely and honestly come to different conclusions.  After I have spent some time studying these differences, I have come to appreciate and respect the various positions discussed in this book. 

This is the key point. We may come to a different opinion based on our own set of conclusions.  However, as is the case with the issues discussed in this book, only God knows for sure which set of conclusions is right. Let us be only as dogmatic about these issues as the Bible is.

 

Thus, in this book I have attempted to show the biblical basis for the purpose, meaning, methods, and recipients of baptism. I have tried to be fair and even-minded in discussing these differences. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1

The Purpose of Baptism

 

Why Baptize?

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen (Matt.28:18-20)

Why did Christ command us to baptize?  To properly answer this question, we must first examine the Trinity and see what part each member of the Godhead played in man’s salvation.

The Father’s role in the salvation of man was His choosing or electing, before the foundation of the world, those who would be saved. Therefore, the Father’s part in man’s salvation was election.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.  (Eph. 1:3-6)

The Son’s work was to die sacrificially for the sins of believers by shedding His blood for their atonement and forgiveness. He redeemed or paid the penalty for their sins.  His part in man’s salvation is redemption.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,  (Eph. 1:7,8)

The Holy Spirit’s role in this process of man’s salvation is to apply what the Father and Son did to the heart of the chosen sinner and cause him to be born again or re-created spiritually. 

Blessed is the man You choose, And cause to approach You,
That he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Of Your holy temple.  (Psalm 65:4)

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  (John 3:3-5)

The work of the Spirit in the new birth of the Christian is called regeneration.  This being “born of water and the Spirit” is a spiritual washing and comes about by the mercy of God and not according to our works or what we did in life.

not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, (Titus 3:5)

 

Signs and Symbols

Since the Father sent both His Son and Spirit to the world to accomplish the work of man’s salvation, He instituted signs and symbols to commemorate or picture Their work.  The Lord’s Supper is a symbol that represents the sacrifice of Christ in His redemption of Christians.  Water baptism is a symbol that pictures the new birth of the believer “…by the washing (baptism in the Greek) of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.”  (Titus 3:5)

Knowing that the flesh is weak, God ordained these signs and symbols to remind man of His love, grace, and mercy. By participating in these acts of worship, the Christian will never take for granted or forget the great love, grace, mercy, and sacrifice God made for him.  These signs and symbols are a visual aid to help the Christian grow spiritually.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2

The Meaning of Baptism

 

The Washing of Regeneration of the Holy Spirit

According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, the word baptism from the Greek word baptismos means simply a ceremonial washing or cleansing:

909. baptismos bap-tis-mos' from 907; ablution (ceremonial or Christian):--baptism, washing

In the Old Testament, washings or baptisms were for the purifying or cleansing of both people and objects.

Why is water used in baptism?  There is a threefold aspect regarding washing or cleansing in the Bible.  Water is the natural agent for washing and cleansing, and it was used for that purpose in Scripture.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Take the Levites from among the children of Israel and cleanse them ceremonially. Thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purification on them, and let them shave all their body, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean. (Num. 8:5-7)

Blood was used in Scripture for atonement:

15 “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. 16 So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; (Lev. 16:15,16)

Blood also cleanses us from our sins:

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.  (1 John 1:7)

Finally, the Holy Spirit is the great sanctifier and cleanser:

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, (Eph. 5:25-26)

not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,  (Titus 3:5)

In Scripture, water and the Holy Spirit are associated with each other.  We have already seen this spiritual washing in John 3:5, Titus 3:5, and Eph. 5:26. 

John the Baptist said of Jesus:

11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Matt. 3:11)

Jesus said to the woman at the well:

But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14)

Peter said of Cornelius and his family:

“Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”  (Acts 10:47) 

The physical act of water baptism does not save us. (Titus 3:5)  Water baptism is a symbolic act of worship which represents our spiritual baptism or washing at our conversion.  John the Baptist said that he baptized with water, but that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit.  This is the spiritual washing alluded to in John 3:5 concerning the new birth and emphasized in Titus 3:5. Therefore, physical water baptism is a symbol which represents our spiritual washing or cleansing of our sins because of our faith in Jesus Christ. 

I would like to address one verse that appears to be problematic with what I have just said in the previous paragraph.

Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’  (Acts 22:16)

Here Ananias was telling Paul to call on the name of the Lord.  The Word of God is showing us that it is by our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that we are saved and have our sins forgiven.  It is at salvation that we have been spiritually baptized and our sins are washed away, not when we are baptized with water. If we are saved and have our sins washed away when we are baptized with water then we are saved by water baptism.  The Scripture is clear that we are not saved by works of righteousness but by the grace and mercy of God. (Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5)

 

The Christian’s Union in Christ’s Sufferings, Death, Burial, and Resurrection

The Bible speaks of the Christian’s union into the body of Christ by baptism.

Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (Rom. 6:3-6)

However, this union does not take place at the moment of our water baptism or as a result of it. This union takes place when Christ baptizes or washes us with the Holy Spirit which occurs at regeneration and conversion. (Titus 3:5)  Our old man or body of sin is crucified with Christ, has died in Christ’s death, is buried in Christ’s burial, and the Christian can then walk in newness and freedom of the resurrected life.

 

Summary

Therefore, to properly understand the meaning of water baptism, one must look to the spiritual baptism for which it is a symbol.  The first key aspect is that this spiritual washing (baptism) or cleansing is a work of the regenerating power or new birth of the Holy Spirit. Secondly, this spiritual baptism results in our union in Christ. Our body of sin is crucified, destroyed, buried, and we are then free to walk in newness of life in the likeness of Christ’s resurrection.  We will still be sinners and have to constantly battle our sin nature, but we, as believers in Jesus Christ, have the help of the Holy Spirit to fight against this sin nature.

16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)

 

 

 

Chapter 3

A Sacrament or Ordinance?

 

We see from the Great Commission passage (Matt. 28:18-20) that Jesus Christ commanded Christians to baptize others.  He also told us that this Christian baptism should be done in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

One of the first things we notice about baptism is the way some Christians refer to it.  Some call baptism a sacrament and some call it an ordinance.  What is the difference between these two terms?  Which description is correct?

 

Sacrament

What does the word sacrament mean?  Let’s go to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary for a definition of the word sacrament:

“a Christian rite (as baptism or the Eucharist) that is believed to have been ordained by Christ and that is held to be a means of divine grace or to be a sign or symbol of a spiritual reality”

Those who call baptism a sacrament believe that baptism and the Lord’s Supper imparts a spiritual blessing to the one participating in this act of worship. They would say that these signs are a means of grace which provides spiritual encouragement, strength, and sanctification.

 

 

 

Ordinance

Other Christians refer to baptism and the Lord’s Supper as an ordinance.  Let us return to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary for the meaning of the word ordinance:

“an authoritative decree or direction : order 

 

Those who call these two acts of worship an ordinance are saying they were ordained or commanded by the Lord.  They would say that there is no means of grace conveyed to the participant or worshipper. These acts of worship are just symbols that represent spiritual truths.

 

Which is Correct? 

That is a good question.  Both of these definitions include the fact that these signs, symbols, or acts of worship have been ordained or commanded by God for Christians to do.  Isn’t it true that by participating in these acts of worship, we are spiritually strengthened in our faith?  Don’t they also represent spiritual truths?

How we label or call these acts of worship is not important.  What is important is that we are obedient to the Lord, follow His directions, and participate in baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4

The Biblical Case for Sprinkling

 (The Cleansing of the Priesthood)

 

The Aaronic Priesthood

In the Old Testament, the Aaronic priesthood came from the tribe of Levi.  Before the priest was allowed to perform his duties, it was required that the Levite be cleansed of sin and consecrated to the holy responsibilities he was shortly to assume. This cleansing and consecration of the priest was accomplished by the sprinkling of water and blood.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Take the Levites from among the children of Israel and cleanse them ceremonially. Thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purification on them, and let them shave all their body, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean. (Num. 8:5-7)

19 “You shall also take the other ram, and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands on the head of the ram. 20 Then you shall kill the ram, and take some of its blood and put it on the tip of the right ear of Aaron and on the tip of the right ear of his sons, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood all around on the altar. 21 And you shall take some of the blood that is on the altar, and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and on his garments, on his sons and on the garments of his sons with him; and he and his garments shall be hallowed, and his sons and his sons’ garments with him. (Ex. 29:19-21)

The Aaronic high priesthood was a picture or type of Jesus Christ’s priesthood. (Heb. chapters 8,9)  The Old Testament high priest entered the Most Holy Place once a year and sprinkled the blood of atonement on the mercy seat for the cleansing of the sins of Israel. (Lev. chapter 16)

 

Christ’s Priesthood

Jesus Christ descended from the tribe of Judah and is our great High Priest.

14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. (Heb. 4:14)

He once entered the heavenly most Holy Place and obtained our eternal redemption by the sprinkling of His blood of atonement.

12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Heb. 9:12-14)

Even though the Aaronic priesthood was a type of Christ’s, there was a notable difference.  Aaron was a sinner and not eternal. Christ was without sin and the eternal Son of God. Therefore Christ’s priesthood was after the order of Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of God, who was without the beginning or end of days. (Heb. 7:1-3)

However, the picture God took great lengths to portray of the Aaronic priesthood, with its ritual and tabernacle, was a pre-figure or type of the priesthood of Christ, our High Priest and the heavenly tabernacle.For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” (Heb. 8:3-5)

 

Christ’s Baptism

Christ was baptized, not for cleansing, because He was without sin but to “…fulfill all righteousness.” (Matt. 3:15)  This righteousness was that the consecration of the priesthood should be complied with. (Num. 8:5-7) Christ certainly would have followed the law (righteousness) that He declared in Scripture concerning the consecration of the priesthood.  He would have been obedient to Num. 8:7 as a priest and been sprinkled with water to establish His priesthood of His church which would need cleansing. Christ didn’t need to comply with the shaving of His head or the washing of His clothes because He was without sin.  Neither do believers, who are priests and have had their sins forgiven, as Jesus has done away with the ritual of the law.

Notice that Christ was consecrated, baptized, and embarked on His earthly mission shortly after His thirtieth birthday which complied with the priesthood requirement.

23 Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, (Luke 3:23)

4 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: “Take a census of the sons of Kohath from among the children of Levi, by their families, by their fathers’ house, from thirty years old and above, even to fifty years old, all who enter the service to do the work in the tabernacle of meeting. (Num. 4:1-3)

 

Christians Are a Royal Priesthood

The nation of Israel was a priesthood and needed cleansing.

And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (Ex. 19:6)

10 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. (Ex. 19:10)

We, the New Testament church, are a royal priesthood and need cleansing.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:9,10)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

The prophet Isaiah said that the Christ “Servant” shall sprinkle many nations.

13 Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. 14 Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men;15 So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they shall consider. (Isa. 52:13-15)

Therefore, our cleansing and consecration as priests is pictured in our washing of baptism by sprinkling.

Final Comments

Thus, the scriptural way of baptism (washing and consecration) of, by, and for the priesthood was always the sprinkling of water and blood.  The objects of the sprinkling were the altar, mercy seat, and priest. This was a command of God and a picture of cleansing and atonement.  For reasons known only to God, He chose sprinkling to be the symbol used in Scripture to represent the cleansing of the one baptized or washed.  Therefore, as part of the priesthood of Christ, the Christian’s baptism, cleansing, and consecration to serve the Lord should be by the sprinkling of water.

24 For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.  (Eze. 36:24-25)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5

The Biblical Case for Pouring

 (The Anointing of the Holy Spirit)

 

Water Baptism is a Symbol of our Spiritual Baptism

Physical water baptism is a symbol or picture of the Christian’s spiritual baptism.  It represents the baptism or spiritual washing that Jesus does to the Christian using the Holy Spirit at conversion.  John the Baptist’s baptism was one of repentance.  He told the people that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

One of the most important ministries of the Holy Spirit is His ability to sanctify and make the believer clean from sin.

11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor. 6:11)

To sanctify means to set apart and to make holy.  Before one can be made holy, he must first be cleansed of his sins. As mentioned previously, water and blood are elements used in Scripture for cleansing.  Fire also symbolizes cleansing at times.

22 Only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, 23 everything that can endure fire, you shall put through the fire, and it shall be clean; and it shall be purified with the water of purification. But all that cannot endure fire you shall put through water. (Num. 31:22,23)

The Holy Spirit is associated with fire.

Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:3,4)

The Holy Spirit purges away our sins as a fire consumes matter.

He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  (Matt. 3:11,12)

 

The New Birth

There are two additional key verses that prove that water baptism is a picture of the more important spiritual baptism or washing with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)

From this verse, we learn that for a man to enter the kingdom of God, he must first be born of “water and the Spirit”. In other words, he must have a spiritual washing.

not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, (Titus 3:5,6)

These verses tell us that we are saved through the washing (baptism in the Greek) of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

How Does the Holy Spirit Move Upon Us?

Now that we see that water baptism is a picture of the washing of regeneration with the Holy Spirit, let’s examine closely from Scripture the movement of the Holy Spirit.  However Jesus would baptize or wash us with the Holy Spirit at our regeneration is the example of how water baptism should take place physically.

It is abundantly clear from Scripture that the movement of the Holy Spirit is always described in a descending manner.

16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. (Matt. 3:16)

33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’  (John 1:33)

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. (Acts 10:44)

15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. (Acts 11:15)

 

The Pouring Upon of the Holy Spirit

A most significant fact concerning the Holy Spirit is that He is always described as being poured upon individuals.  Here are a few verses among the many in Scripture that attest to the pouring of the Holy Spirit upon people:

Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you. (Prov. 1:23)

15 Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, And the fruitful field is counted as a forest. (Isa. 32:15)

I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, And My blessing on your offspring; (Isa. 44:3)

28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” (Joel 2:28,29)

29 And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord God.” (Eze. 39:29)

17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:17,18)

45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. (Acts 10:45)

So, we see that this pouring out upon individuals was both of the Jews and of the Gentiles.

 

Christ’s Baptism

The words Christ or Messiah mean in Greek and Hebrew respectively the “anointed” one.  When was Jesus anointed and with what was He anointed?

38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, (Acts 10:38)

In the account of His baptism in Matt. 3:16 and John 1:33, we see the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus. Therefore, His anointing must have occurred at His baptism. The Holy Spirit was poured upon Him at this time.  John the Baptist, to correctly signify this anointing would have poured the water upon Jesus symbolizing the pouring upon of the Holy Spirit since He was the anointed one.  Anointing in Scripture, whether with oil or water, was always done by pouring the fluid upon the individual.  Also, water and oil often represent the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. (Eph. 5:25-27)

12 And he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him, to consecrate him. (Lev. 8:12)

 

Final Comments

Priests, kings, and prophets were anointed at various times in Scripture.  The anointing showed that God the Spirit was upon the individual to help him accomplish his sacred duties.  Christians are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), heirs of the kingdom (James 2:5), and messengers of the gospel (Matt. 28:19). Our anointing with water in baptism shows our empowerment with the Holy Spirit. It also shows the sanctifying and cleansing work of the Spirit as Jesus saves us by the “washing of regeneration with the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).  Therefore, water would be poured upon the person being baptized to show this anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Chapter 6

The Biblical Case for Immersion

 (Buried with Christ by Baptism)

 

Baptism by Immersion or Dipping

The two main Scriptural passages used for support of dipping or immersion are found in Romans 6 and Colossians 2.

Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Rom. 6:3,4)

12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. (Col. 2:12)

The phrase used in both instances is that the Christian is “…buried with Him…” in baptism. The water in the baptismal pool represents the ground. When the person is dipped under the water, this represents the Christian’s union with Jesus Christ in His sufferings, death, and burial.  When the person is pulled up out of the water, this symbolizes the Christian’s union with Christ in His resurrection and the believer’s freedom over the dominion of sin to walk in newness of life.

10 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, (1 Cor. 10:1,2)

The passage is also used as a reference since the people were baptized and surrounded in the cloud and in the Red Sea.

Baptizo