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Biblical Water Baptism (Baptism of John), Episode V

Updated on March 2, 2014

Referenced Texts

Mt 3:16 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. Compare to: Ac 8:38-39 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.

Mk 1:4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Compare to: Ac 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit

Ac 18:24-28 Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27 And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; 28 for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.

Ac 19:1-7 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. 7 Now the men were about twelve in all.

Biblical Water Baptism, Q&A, Q's 41-46

The Baptism of John the Baptist

John, the son of Zacharias and Elisabeth was born into the priesthood caste and would have ministered at the altar in the temple had not Yahweh called him into the desert to introduce His messiah. John is clear that it was God who sent him to baptize. It is important to note that, although there is much ado in our time concerning Jewish baptism, John's is the first mention of water baptism in the Bible. Therefore, any study of New Testament water baptism must start with John.

So, here we pick up our Q&A on the subject of Biblical Water Baptism with John the Baptist.

Question 41: Did John the Baptist practice a different MODE of Water Baptism than did the apostles? ∼ Answer: Both John the Baptist and the apostles of the Lord Jesus practiced immersion as their MODE of Water Baptism. (See Matthew 3:16; Acts 8:38-39). It must be acknowledged that John's baptismal candidates went physically into the water; there would have been no need if pouring or sprinkling were practiced.

Question 42: Was the baptism of John the Baptist for a different purpose than was the Water Baptism of the apostles? ∼ Answer: Both the Water Baptism of John the Baptist and that of the apostles were for the remission of sins. (Mark 1:4 compared to Acts 2:38). Although the blood of Christ had not been shed for the remission of sin, still and yet, John's baptism was concerned with that act in this way: John was the priest to whom the people brought their sins. Just as the priest of the Old Testament collected the nation's sins through the laying on of hands and then conveyed those sins to the head of the sacrificial lamb, so too John. John, as the priest, then placed his hands on Jesus (the true Lamb) in the act of baptism and placed there the sins of the people. Only AFTER Jesus was baptized by John dis Jon say of Him: "Behold the Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world." From the time that Jesus was baptized by John, Jesus carried the sins of all past ages to the cross and shed His blood for their remission. In this way, John's baptism addressed the remission of sins.

Question 43: Was there any differences between the Water Baptism of John the Baptist and the Water Baptism of the Apostles? ∼ Answer: The only difference between the Water Baptism of John the Baptist and that of the apostles is what was said over the one being baptized by the baptizer. John said, to believe on him that would come after him; while the apostles invoked the name of Jesus. (See Acts 19:1-7 for example.)

Question 44: Was the Water Baptism of John the Baptist valid after the establishing of the Lord’s Church in Acts 2:1-47? ∼ Answer: After John's death his disciples continued to baptize. However, once the church was established in the second chapter of Acts, the Water Baptism of John the Baptist was no longer valid. John’s disciples were re-baptized into the name of Jesus (Acts 19:1-7).

Question 45: How did the disciples of Jesus respond to the disciples of John the Baptist after the establishing of the Church on the Day of Pentecost in A.D. 30? ∼ Answer: After the birth of the Church in A.D. 30, on the Day of Pentecost, the disciples of Jesus gave the disciples of John further instructions and subjected them to re-baptism into the name of Jesus (Acts 18:24-28 - Acts 19:1-7).

Question 46: What does the apostle Paul mean in Ephesians 4:5 by the declaration of “one baptism?” ∼ Answer: Paul is instructing the Ephesians, that in regard to water, there is but one baptism allowed. This is because the founding members of the Ephesian church had been previously baptized into the baptism of John the Baptist, and then re-baptized at the hands of Paul (see Acts 19:1-7 also Questions 41 through 46). Paul is reminding the Ephesians that the Water Baptism he administered unto them was the only Water Baptism recognized by the Lord’s Church.

In summary, we acknowledge that both John's ministry and baptism were transitional. Once the Messiah was introduced, and Christian water baptism was instituted, the ministry and baptism of John were replaced with the ministry and baptism of the Lord's apostles.

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    • Bishop J L Hayes profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerry Lynn Hayes Sr 

      4 years ago from Texas City, Texas

      Both the Water Baptism of John the Baptist and that of the apostles were for the remission of sins. (Mark 1:4 compared to Acts 2:38).

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