Did Christ Establish Water Baptism?

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Truth be told, baptism by water was already in place and practiced before Jesus arrived on the scene.

Here is another one of those articles that I am sure to take a lot of heat over, yet I challenge and encourage readers to examine the Scriptures for themselves to ascertain if what is written here is true. (1 John 4:1)

I begin by quoting something John the Baptizer said at Matthew 3:11:

I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

John The Baptizer Baptized With Water

Before the person known to the world as Jesus came on the scene, there was John the Baptizer. He was the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth. His parents were of the priestly house of Aaron. John’s birth was also miraculous in the sense that both of his parents were advanced in age. Yet, the angel Gabriel appeared to the aged Zechariah and told him that he would have a son. (Luke 1:7-17)

Before Jesus came on the scene, John the Baptizer had his own ministry and following (discipleship). His preaching work was to the Jews (his own people) and his message was that they …

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near. (Matthew 3:1-2)

Not only did John the Baptizer have his own ministry and disciples, he himself was a teacher. Note: The word disciple means “taught one.” Therefore, it would make sense that John the Baptizer would be a teacher. That he was a teacher can be seen at John 3:26 where he is called Rabbi by his disciples. Rabbi means teacher.

They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.

Why was John the Baptizer sent to the Jews? Because Israel was in a Law Covenant (Agreement) with God and was guilty of sins committed against the Law Covenant. So repentant Jews could have their sins forgiven by baptism in water by John. Water baptism by John the Baptizer would be a temporary arrangement for the Jews as long as the Law Covenant was being enforced over them. Only the fulfillment of that Law Covenant would end the water baptism requirement.

Jesus Fulfills The Law Covenant (A New Day and a New Way)

John The Baptizer knew that his ministry would diminish and another one would come after his. In other words, he knew that baptism in water for repentant Jews would end. Another, greater than he, would come after him. John attests to this. I repeat here the passage quoted above at Matthew 3:11:

I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Christendom – and those so-called Christian organizations who claim they are no part of Christendom – namely the WTBTS – promote and practice water baptism. It is almost as if they ignore what is stated in Matthew 3:11.

It should be noted at this point that it was John the Baptizer who had the practice of baptizing in water, not Jesus. Jesus’ baptism for his followers would not be with water, but with something else: Holy Spirit and fire.

When Jesus arrived on the scene he made the following announcement found at Matthew 5:17 that many today still do not see the monumental importance of. He said:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

What was Jesus talking about? Jesus was saying to the Jews that “I have fulfilled the law in your behalf so that you do not have to keep it. He was essentially saying, “Becoming my disciple will set you free from ever having to keep the Law. I have fulfilled that contract between you and God.” Think about what that means!

It means that any Jew (all under the Law Covenant) who would become disciples of Christ and be taught by him, would be freed from ever having to keep the Law, a Law that they could not keep and had condemned them to death. That is why Jesus would say to The Jews at John 8:31-32:

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Any Jew who listened to Christ and believed what he said and held to the things that he was teaching them, would become his disciples. Not disciples of the teachers of the Law, the Pharisees or disciples of John the Baptizer. They would become disciples of Christ and THEN they would KNOW THE TRUTH and the knowing of the truth would set them free. Set them free from what? FROM EVER HAVING TO KEEP THE LAW!

Jesus told them that he did come to abolish God’s law, but to fulfill it for the Jews. So, discipleship to Christ would mean a different kind of baptism unlike that of John the Baptizer: A baptism in Holy Spirit and fire.

Jesus Was Baptized In Water By John the Baptizer, What About That?

This would be a logical and very good question to ask. It is true, Jesus did allow himself to be baptized in water by John the Baptizer? Why? And, does that mean his followers are to get baptized in water?

To understand why  Jesus allowed John the Baptizer to baptize him in water, we must look at the Scriptures surrounding that baptism at Matthew 3:13-15:

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water.

First, notice that John the Baptizer tried to prevent Jesus from being baptized in water by him. Why? Because John knew that Jesus was not in need of repentance and thus no requirement for him to be baptized in water. John also knew Jesus was much greater than he was not only as a person but in what his ministry would accomplish. Jesus’ ministry would overshadow and end John’s ministry. Yet, Jesus said to John …

Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.

Notice Jesus’ statement: “Let it be so for now; it is proper for us to do this to FULFILL (finish) all that is righteous.

The keyword here is FULFILL. I have already shown that Christ fulfilled the Law Covenant on behalf of the Jews. Now, he is fulfilling (ending or finishing) the need for them to get baptized in water by John.

By allowing John to baptize him in water, Jesus was making a public display and testimony that John the Baptizers ministry was about to end. That he (Jesus) would be the last among men who would be baptized by John in water. That baptism in

That baptism in water officially ended the requirement for water baptism and it showed that Jesus’ fulfilled the Law Covenant and would bring a NEW teaching with a new baptism: One of Holy Spirit and fire.

Water Baptism Not A Requirement Today

I respectfully challenge anyone to show where any of Christ’s disciples got baptized in water. It’s not there. Yet, it can be shown where they were baptized in Holy Spirit and fire by him. Where? At Acts 2:1-4:

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Notice that the eleven Apostles (Judas Iscariot was not present) saw what looked like “tongues of fire” that separated and came to rest on each of them. Notice too, that all of them was filled with Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues (known languages) that they never learned. It was no mere gibberish, but languages spoken by others present at the event.

This “baptism” in Holy Spirit and fire is the baptism Jesus Christ baptizes his followers with, not water. What is the significance of the fire?

Notice at this baptism that the eleven Apostles spoke in tongues (languages). What that means for Christ’s disciples today is that once Christ (who is in heaven) determines a particular disciple is ready for his baptism in Holy Spirit and fire, they will speak his truth boldly. Christ knows who his sheep are all over the world while we ourselves might not know them, he does. These persons come out of every tribe, tongue (language group) and nation. And, Christ – in his due time – sends them Holy Spirit from his Father in heaven and fire – the ability to speak and teach his truth boldly – to all peoples in the world.

Concerning Christ, The Lamb of God, an angel at Revelation 5:9-10 says:

You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.

Also, the significance of this type of baptism by fire is that it is a fire that cannot be put out. Meaning the TRUTH spoken cannot be stopped, extinguished, or prevented. The Holy Spirit in this instance is referring to God’s power that allows such speaking to occur. It should be understood that Jesus NEVER took credit for the miracles and great works he performed; he always attributed what he did by God’s power and by God’s permission. Too, we must ask ourselves, who can stop what comes from God?

At John 4:23-34 Jesus says:

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.

God is Spirit as Jesus says above. Our worship of Him MUST be with “Spirit and truth.” In other words, through the baptism that comes from Christ: Spirit and fire (The Truth). 

It is for that reason that Jesus could say of himself at John 14:6:

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Christ is The Truth.

Therefore, our worship of the Father in heaven can ONLY be through Christ himself. That FIRST involves becoming his disciple and to be taught the truth by him. No, it DOES NOT mean joining one of the 41,000 contending Christian denominations THINKING that THROUGH THEM you are taught Christ and then to the Father. This introduces a third party – religious organization – that should not be there. ONLY Christ can stand in between man and God. See the illustrations below.

 

god-christ-man

God is the Head (master) of Christ, Christ is the Head (master) of man. This is God’s arrangement.


does-not-belong

This is NOT God’s arrangement. A Third-Party – Religious Organization – Has inserted itself in between man and Christ and has stolen and usurped mankind; mankind who Christ died for and thus purchased. Christ is the owner of mankind. Yet, a religious organization has taken (stolen) the sheep of the true owner and treats them as if they are it’s own.

 

There is only one head over man, Christ. This is written at 1 Cor 11:3. The Apostle Paul says:

But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

There can be no other way to the Father in heaven and no other Head over man other than Christ. Sadly, a religious organization of all sorts have inserted itself in a place – a holy place – where it does not belong and neither did God or His Christ place them there.

But Wait A Minute! What About The Ethiopian Eunuch?

There will be those – and rightly so – who would ask, “Did not the Ethiopian Eunuch get baptized In water by Philip?” And, the answer would be, “Yes he did.” But again, one must look at the entire context surrounding what kind of baptism the Ethiopian Eunuch had. (Acts 8:26-33)

First of all this Ethiopian Eunuch was not a Jew, he was a proselyte into the Jewish religion and we find him reading out of the Book of Isaiah. He was returning home to Ethiopia from Jerusalem where he was worshiping under the way of the Jews. This Eunuch knew nothing about Christ or his teaching and neither did Philip engage with him in a discussion about Christ. This Ethiopian wanted to repent of his sins – as Jews who were disciples of John the Baptizer would –  and get baptized in water. 

The point here is that this Ethiopian was not interested in becoming a disciple of Christ, he was a NEW proselyte into the Jewish religion and his mindset was on being converted to that religion, not as a disciple of Christ. It is possible that once he became a mature and knowledgeable proselyte that he would later learn about the Christ, we do not know. I believe it was doubtful since he returned to Ethiopia without knowing anything about Christ and his teachings and new baptism with Spirit and Fire.

Additionally, if one was to use the weak example of the Ethiopian Eunuch to justify water baptism, then it is because they chose not to accept that water baptism is of John and not of Jesus. They have chosen not to accept the true baptism of Jesus and thus, do not know him. Sadly, most of the so-called believing world falls into the category of being misled “into the water.” Sadly, they will defend a lesser baptism (of John the Baptizer) and will not champion the greater baptism of Jesus Christ which is with Holy Spirit and fire.

So Where Should One Go From Here?

First, one must understand and realize the painful truth that Jesus did not baptize anyone with water, John the Baptizer did. Even John the Baptizer recognized Jesus as a greater one. Thus, Jesus’ baptism would be greater. Jesus baptism would be with Holy Spirit and Fire. This will, no doubt, be a major hurdle many would have to overcome. Sadly, many will not want to because of the way they have been taught and indoctrinated.

Secondly, those who do realize and come to understand this truth should align themselves with being a disciple of Christ (no fancy names or titles). This is to be done without bulk religious organization standing in the way. (see the two illustrations above.

Thirdly, wait. As you apply yourself in learning from Christ by praying to the Father in heaven through His Son for His wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, you will receive these things in the measure as the Father sees that you are able to digest and handle (through Christ) and you will grow in wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. Do not make the mistake so many makes in thinking that studying the Bible is what increases you in wisdom, understanding, and knowledge; but rather, it is what you receive from the Father in heaven through His Son. That is why constant prayer is vital to your growth. Prayer is your most powerful mechanism to tap into what the Father in heaven will gladly give you through His Son. It will not come from a book.

Your baptism with Spirit and Fire will eventually come as you grow as a disciple of Christ. It will come upon you when you least expect it. It will not be some experience that throws you into a frenzy. It is calm and quiet, and your mind will be opened up in an indescribable way. I do not believe everyone’s experience with this sort of baptism is the same as we are all not the same and have different backgrounds and upbringing. But, one will definitely know when they have received this sort of baptism in Christ. For me, I was riding a train on a daily commute to work and my experience was like I entered into a very bright room (though not blinding) and everything illuminated and crystal clear.

I did not immediately go on a quest to talk to others about my experience; I was speaking to others about Christ already. It was just that my entire outlook was a focus on sitting in front of Christ and listening to what he teaches as opposed to the voices issuing out of all religious organizations – especially the ones that make up the religious system called by men – Christianity – that claims it follows Christ. I came to know and understand it is: It is an imposter and counterfeit that is far removed from God and Christ. Its past and present conduct prove what it is. Christ foretold its coming. (Matthew 24:4-5)

Christianity is not interested in The Truth (Christ) and following what he says. It is more interested in creating divisions among men – in the name of Christ – resulting in the more than 41,000 contending Christian denominations. Further resulting in Christ being taught divided (differently). Jesus said in Matthew 12:25:

Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.

The religious system called by men, Christianity is such a city that is divided against itself and it will be pulled down because it is not of God and Christ.

Only if one takes courage and comes out of it (and out of all religious organization) and come to the person of Christ to be taught by him and become his disciple, can one be in a household of truth, no divisions. That household is the Masters household – Christ Jesus himself.

For sure, religious organization will want you to join THEM because they ALL claim that Christ is with THEM. If one simply pauses and think for a moment, our attachment or joining ourselves to something should be only an attachment to the person of Christ himself. (1 Cor 6:15)

Once they get persons to join THEM then those persons are not taught, Christ. Yes, Christ’s name is mentioned and Christ is even hailed truthfully as Lord and Christ, but persons are indoctrinated in the teachings of an organization, replete with their own set of rules, regulations, and rituals – and titles they give themselves. All of which is simply a reversion back to law keeping; something Jesus’ disciples would be free from. The Apostle Paul said at Galatians 5:1:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

The religious organization exists only to take persons captives into themselves and to burden them down and prevent them from freely moving about mentally in learning the truth about Christ. Christianity has effectively blocked the truth from reaching not only its own membership but from persons who are seeking the truth. It stands in a holy place where only Christ can stand.

What to do is easily said but difficult for many to implement: Obey God!

A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.

Are you listening to Christ himself or religious organizations that claim they speak for him? Last time I checked, Christ is alive and can speak for himself. So listen to him when he speaks. (John 10:3-6)

 

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R. Jerome Harris

A Disciple of Christ in the strictest sense. I belong to no religious organization. I view Christ as my only Head, Master, Teacher, Owner, and Lord. (John 8:31-32, 1Cor 11:3) His God is my God and I champion his teachings above anything issuing out of ANY religious organization.

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