Sozo Short Bible Study, Category #1: Christian Life Basics
Separating the myths & traditions from the true meaning and purpose of Baptism . . .
Sozo Short Study, “Baptism”
By Rev. G. E. Newmyer
The Doctrine of Baptisms can become a convoluted subject at best, especially when one adds in all the Traditions, Presumptions, or Fringe elements into the equation. For instance, we see the “One Baptism,” then “John’s Baptism,” “Water Baptism in the Name of Jesus,” “Baptism of Service with the Cup,” and “Baptized in the Holy Ghost and Fire.” Where do we begin?
Water Baptism: Water Baptism is important, but it’s something we either “do” or “submit to;” yet it can become twisted into an act of self-righteousness rather than remain the Token that it’s supposed to be. “Carnal minded” or “natural thinking” people want to have a masterful hand in their salvation or they want to be the “special of the special” in having something that none of the rest of us have or in order to consider themselves to be elevated above the rest of the Body. So, often, a group will add to a practice to make it appear as if they are the only ones doing whatever that practice is “correctly,” such as use The “Right Name of Jesus” or the “Right place,” the “Right water” or the “Right method.” By doing this, any of these added options can end up making whatever this “practice or tradition” is, more than what it was intended to be, which is very dangerous to do.
When a practice becomes an idol: When we take anything which God has given us and then elevate its importance or its capability above what God has indicated for us, we turn the thing of God into an idol. Traditions begin as “good ideas” by someone who really didn’t place a great deal of importance on the Tradition, but the next generation might; and in so doing, they can make it “Doctrine.”
Though there are many ways in which water baptism is conducted by the members of the Body of Christ, the only requirement is for the candidate to “believe” (Acts 8:12, 18:8 et al); and unless this requirement is satisfied, it isn’t truly a baptism.
“But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” Acts 8:12 (KJV)
“And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.” Acts 18:8 (KJV)
The water can be purified, or it can be Jordan water, salt water, running water or dishwater. The ceremony can be conducted exactly as John did. We can see the perfect pronunciation of The Name, used in the original language; yet in spite of all these options, if the candidate cannot profess a “belief,” it’s all for nothing.
The Body of Christ is the only organization on the earth which is given the Godly authority to baptize anyone in water. Jesus commanded us to teach, baptize, and teach the more.
So, for the candidate who is about to enter the Body, their water baptism will be an ordinance based on their belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus; other organizations may do things they call “baptism,” but they are merely taking a bath, having a swim, or just getting wet.
The function of Baptism began with John the Baptist, but his baptism ended when John was cast into prison. Then in Acts 18:24-25, we are introduced to Apollos who was born in Alexandria, “an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures.” At the time, he was teaching the Baptism of John because it was all he knew. However, the husband and wife team of Aquila and Priscilla expounded the Way of God “more perfectly” to Apollos.
Later we see in Acts 19: 2, that Paul went to the area of Ephesus where he found “certain disciples” and asked them, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” They answered by saying, “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” They were Gentiles and thus far, had been baptized under John’s Baptism.
In the Name of Jesus: John’s ministry was short lived at best; and as we mentioned earlier, his baptism ceased when he was cast into prison. The season and effectiveness of John’s baptism stopped at the Cross when Jesus presented the “evidence to believe.” So, since there were those still going about baptizing under John’s Baptism, at that time we in the Body were given the phrase “In the Name of Jesus,” only to indicate that no other Baptism has any effect for the person, with regard to entering into the Body.
Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. (Acts 19:4).
Baptism with the Holy Ghost grants the Spirit: So, with two active water baptisms being conducted at the time, only one of them was the “accepted Token” based on the Authority (Name) of Jesus. We in the Body are only allowed to administer that One Baptism in Water, while the other aspects of Baptism (Spirit & Fire) are conducted by the Holy Ghost on behalf of Jesus. Water baptism does not gain us the Spirit (Acts 10:45, with 11:16 & Acts 19:5-6), only the Baptism with the Holy Ghost can grant the Spirit.
“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.” Acts 19:5-6 (KJV)
Understanding the various facets of the “Doctrine of Baptisms” is paramount to our understanding of how the Gospel works in our lives and the Rudiments of the Doctrine of Christ are the very basic points of knowledge or the first things any convert should be taught.
One Baptism: Among the Rudiments is the “Doctrine of Baptism(s)”; yet Paul said that there is only “One Baptism” in Eph 4:5, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.”
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” Hebrews 6:1-2 (KJV)
Ephesians 4:4-5 gives us a series of “One” elements; but we find different Greek words in place for the word “One,” depending on which Interlinear one uses, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism.
One Baptism with parts: When Paul speaks of One Faith or One Lord, he uses a word meaning “only one.” But in speaking of the One Baptism, or One Body he uses the Greek “Heis” (pronoun) which also means “to agree” or “parts coming into agreement.” This shows that the One Baptism is made up of parts or components, just as the Body is made up of many people.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28: 19-20 (KJV)
In the TR we see the Greek “Ev” meaning “place,” showing that the Body of Christ is the only organization on earth with the God granted authority to baptize anyone in water, which then eliminates John’s baptism. If we don’t understand this premise, then we won’t get past the “Doctrine (one doctrine) of Baptisms” (more than one baptism) while still seeing that there is One Baptism. Then, if we center on “One Baptism” without seeing that it pertains to “parts making the total,” we will end with rejecting purposed baptisms, thereby missing the importance.
Granting of Authority: Jesus looked at His Body and said, “Go in My Name and Baptize” which was the granting of Authority to a specific group. We are the only people in the world who are given this “command” based on the Name (Authority) of Jesus and also by the combined Authority of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. All of this is vital since we know that Jesus will baptize us with the Holy Ghost and Fire, giving us at least two more baptisms.
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” Matthew 3:11 (KJV)
Misnomers: There are some “misnomers” to learn about, ones we tend to use, but not terms found in the Bible. For instance, the expressions, “Baptized with the Spirit,” “Baptism of the Spirit” or “Spirit Baptism” are not Bible terms either in the King James Version or any manuscript. But we do find that the term “Baptized with the Holy Ghost” is found. However, it’s like the word “Accountability,” which doesn’t appear in the Bible either, but the concept is there, which is that…. if we think we are baptized by the Holy Spirit to receive the Holy Ghost, we have it backward. But if we say, “we are baptized by the Holy Ghost to receive the Spirit,” then…we have it right.
The Sower of the Seed of God: As the Holy Ghost is the Sower, one purpose is to Sow the Seed of God. So, if we know that the term “baptized in the Spirit” means we are “Baptized with the Holy Ghost to have the Spirit,” then we have the correct concept. On the same note, we know that “born of the Spirit is Spirit,” which means that our soul is being united to the Spirit to become one.
The term, “baptized with the Spirit” seems to have come from Paul’s teaching to the Corinthians (I Cor 12:12), “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” But in context, it relates to the phrase, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God,” Romans 8:16 KJV, which refers to God as Spirit or the total aspect of God being Spirit.
Water from the Rock: Going back to I Corinthians chapter 10:1-4 (KJV), we find that the “Children” were baptized “Unto Moses” or “Unto the Law” as one people, “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”
The Children saw the “Water from the Rock,” yet we (in the Body of Christ) are “the Rock from which the Water (Mercy) flows.” They were not the water, but they saw it. This preview showed the Mercy of God flowing from the Rock, just as the water in our water baptism represents the Mercy of God.
In First Corinthians, we find that the Corinthians were divided, carnal, and not spiritual. However, the Purpose of God calling them into the Body was to become “of One Spirit and One Mind.” Viewing First Corinthians 12:12-14 (KJV) we can see that the “Unity” Paul is talking about refers to One Body:
“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.”
There is only One Christ, One Spirit for all, whether Jew or Gentile; thus we must Drink of the One Spirit. But what do we drink? We drink wine or grape juice, we don’t drink the bread.
In First Corinthians 2:11-12 Paul tells us that the “spirit of man” knows the things of man, but is completely ignorant of the things of the Spirit of God. Then he tells us that the “spirit of the world” is opposed to the “Spirit which is of God.” The Spirit of God is all God while the Spirit which is “of God” is the “New Man” based on God’s holiness and righteousness; and so we arrive at understanding that, the Spirit of God baptizes (identifies) us into the Body so we can become Spiritual in nature by having the Spirit which is “of God” forming our souls… to make us the sons of God.
“For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.” 1 Corinthians 2:11-13 (KJV)
Born Again: We are “Born Again” because the Holy Ghost planted the Seed; the Seed is the Word (Spirit) and it grew until we were Born Again. The Seed didn’t need to be Born Again, but it became the means allowing us to be Born Again.
The Functions of the Holy Ghost are important: He reproves the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (Jn 14:26 & 16:7-11). He appoints to the offices for Jesus (Acts 13:1-3). He brings the Gift of Grace as the Seed of God (Acts 2:38 & 10:45). He teaches us all things by comparing spiritual with spiritual (Jn 14:26 & I Cor 2:13). He fills us to deal with the masses (Acts 4:31) and no one can call Jesus Lord but by the Holy Ghost (I Cor 12:3).
The Holy Spirit: The Spirit in us is the “Holy Spirit” or “Spirit Holy,” which is the very “Gift” given by the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit is also known as the “Greater He,” the “New Man,” “Another Comforter,” and “Spirit.”
His function is to save our souls by bringing our souls into a Spiritual nature as well as “manifest the witness of Jesus through us” (I Jn 5:8, I Cor 12:4-11, James 1:21, Heb 4:12). The Holy Spirit has gifts relating to “The Gift” (Rom 12:6-21), allowing us to fellowship with the Father (I Jn). All this is what God gives to one group of people…those who are in the Body of Christ.
John’s Baptism centered on the understanding that “the people should believe”; and after (their repentance), it was termed “John’s Baptism “indicating that the “the name or authority” was based in John. As noted, John’s baptism ceased when John went to prison.
In John the Apostle’s Account, we are given the activities of Jesus during the forty-day fast. At one time during the fast, John and his disciples were baptizing in water, as were the disciples of Jesus (although Jesus Himself baptized no one then (Jn 3:22-4:2). This was prior to John being cast into prison (Jn 3:24); and when Jesus came out of the wilderness, John was in prison (Mark 1:14).
Identification of the Lamb of God: So, John’s baptism was in “John’s name,” although we find that two of his (John’s) disciples joined the ministry of Jesus. This doesn’t mean that John’s ministry was joined to the ministry of Jesus (Jn 1:35). The Holy Ghost did fill John, but the Holy Ghost will not take us beyond our calling or purpose. Thus John did not cast out devils or heal the sick, but he did baptize and witness the “identification of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
John’s Baptism: John said he must decrease; his timing came once in all of the “time of mankind,” but it had an end. Thus, if we knowingly baptize under John’s Baptism now, it would be illegal. The issue of John’s baptism being for a short time is so important that the Holy Ghost makes sure that we have what we need to understand this. For instance, Scripture teaches us that the disciples whom Paul came across at Ephesus said that they hadn’t so much as heard of the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:2). In the initial passages of Acts 19, two points are seen: first, notice the word “received” (in “have ye received the Holy Ghost?”) and next, notice the all-important term “believed” (in “since ye believed.”) Paul continued in verse 3, “unto what then were ye baptized?” (Acts 19:3). Paul didn’t ask, “Into what?” or “By what?” or even “By what name?” Rather the baptism was “unto something.” John never baptized anyone “into” the Body of Christ; nor did he claim to, so these mentioned disciples responded to Paul by saying that they were baptized “Unto” John’s Baptism.
The Washing of the Lamb: John’s Baptism, as important as it was, lacked many things. John was not a member of the Body or among the disciples of Jesus; therefore he was not privy to “Go ye” in the Name of Jesus. Jesus said John was great, but then He added, “He that is least in the Kingdom is greater than he” (Matt 11:11). John’s baptism was unto repentance, based on the concept that “the people should believe on Him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus” (Acts 19:4). John’s baptism was not “Unto entering the Body”; it was not designed for those matters. John’s baptism had a specific goal which was, ”to prepare the way,” part of which was to wash the Sacrificial Lamb of God since he (John) was a son of a priest and filled with the Holy Ghost.
When Paul “water baptized” the disciples of Ephesus in water; he did so by the Authority (Name) of Jesus. Then he laid hands on them so they could receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, at which time they were “baptized with the Holy Ghost” by “receiving the Spirit” (Acts 19:4-6 KJV): “Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.”
No one could baptize anyone in water under the “Name of Jesus” (authority) until Jesus granted this Authority. We lay hands on people to present them to the Lord for the “Baptism with the Holy Ghost,” but this doesn’t “bring” the Holy Ghost. It merely means that we, as members of the Body, present the person for consideration; thus the only baptism we do is via “water.”
Baptismal Commandments &Vows: If we are in the Body of Christ, then we have a “commandment” to baptize those who believe (Acts 8:12-13 & 8:36-37). However, the person submitting to water baptism is not “commanded” to be water baptized. For them, it’s about fulfilling an ordinance or something Jesus would like them to do as their “Token of acceptance.” When we “water baptize” people, we are accepting them (by their confession of Belief) into the Body. It doesn’t that mean we were the ones who “gave them the Spirit,” nor does it mean that they are “Saved by the baptism.” The ceremony is a Token on their part, indicating the acceptance of the conditions and vows required. Thus the act is a type of signature to the Covenant… a vow to continue to believe, to seek the Baptism with the Holy Ghost and Fire and to reach for the goal of why they entered the Body to begin with, which is for the salvation of their souls.
“Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” – 1 Peter 1:9
Baptized “with” the Holy Ghost: How do we know when some do not receive the Spirit at their water baptism? Acts 10:44 shows us that Jesus baptized Cornelius with the Holy Ghost “with signs following.” Then after this, Peter wanted water in order to water baptize them (Acts 10:47-48). Peter later identified the act as the baptism with the Holy Ghost by saying, “John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 11:15-16).
In Acts 19 (regarding the disciples who had thus far been baptized under John’s baptism), Paul then baptized these in water in the Name (authority) of Jesus, then laid hands on them to receive the Baptism with the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:5-6). Simon of Samaria was water baptized (Acts 8:13), but was rejected when it came to receiving the Holy Ghost baptism (Acts 8:18-21). Water baptism does not grant us the Spirit; it does mean we have given our Token regarding the Mercy of the Father.
What if candidates for Baptism say “they believe,” but really don’t? Do we take them backward through the water to erase the baptism? No; the answer is again, in the Bible. Philip the Evangelist came to Samaria, the place which represented the third leg in the command, “unto me both, in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, then unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). We know that “Both” related to Jew first, then Gentile next (uttermost). Philip being an Evangelist, was not beginning a new “body”; he was, however, gathering for the Body in Jerusalem.
Nonetheless, he was extremely busy casting out unclean spirits, doing miracles, healing those with the palsy, those who were lame, and many other things.
So, Phillip was one man doing many works; but among the people was a man by the name of Simon, known in history as Simon Magus (Magician) or Simon of Samaria. This Simon used sorcery to bewitch the people of Samaria, saying that he was some great one, which might explain why Philip had to cast out so many “unclean spirits” (Acts 8:6-9). The word Unclean in Acts 8:7 is the Greek “Akathartos,” meaning “foul,” but in a ceremonial sense which was connected to “unclean things” under the Levitical order, pointing more to an “unclean religious spirit.”
However, this same Simon “saw and believed” (Acts 8:13); thus Philip baptized him in water. Then came Peter and John. But did they take the papers from Philip for having baptized Simon after they saw Simon’s condition? No. They came down to help Philip, and among the apostle’s questions were (when Paul’s asked), “Had the people received the Holy Ghost?” Philip responded with, “No, thus far they had only been baptized in the Name of Jesus” (Acts 8:15-16).
Three Critical Aspects of Baptism: This coincidentally answers at least three questions, the first being that the Baptism in the Name of Jesus doesn’t grant us the Holy Ghost (Gift of Grace). Next, we find that the “Baptism in the Name of Jesus” is the one we do in water under the Authority (Name) of Jesus. The third element shows that though there are Baptisms in the Doctrine, all connect to One Purpose, in One Body, unto One Lord.
So, Peter and John then laid hands on the people and thus, presented them to the Lord, so the people could receive the Holy Spirit by the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:16). Does this passage in Scripture mean that only the Apostles could lay hands on the people? No, since in chapter 9 we find a disciple named Ananias, who was not a Deacon, Apostle, or Prophet; yet the Lord told him to go to a house where he would find a man by the name of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:11). Ananias went to the house and “laid hands” on Saul, as Saul received the Holy Ghost (Acts 9:17); then Saul was baptized (Acts 9:18) showing the order (water or spirit first) is not of importance.
Three Methods: We covered earlier how Peter saw that Cornelius was baptized with the Holy Ghost; then following that, Peter sought water to baptize them (“all them which heard the word.”) in the Name of Jesus (Acts 10:45-48 & 11:15-16). In the case of Cornelius, no one laid hands on him, but he “heard and believed” (Acts 10:43). This gives us three methods, one can “lay hands on us,” we can “believe and receive” or we can “believe we have received.”
More about Simon of Samaria – Father of all Heretics: Now we will go back to Simon and the lesson which his story presents. Philip baptized Simon in water, but Simon observed Peter and John laying hands on the people as the Holy Ghost came upon the people (with the evidence of being baptized with the Holy Ghost). Simon seeing this, wanted to “buy” this power, not for himself, but so he could display the power by laying hands on others… again seeing himself as a “great one.”
Peter told Simon, “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the Gift of God may be purchased with money; Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter, for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity” (Acts 8:20-23).
Several things are seen here; the “Gift of God” is noted by Peter to be in association with the Baptism with the Holy Ghost. The word Gift is not Grace (Charis), it’s the Greek Dorea, often relating to Grace, Dorea means a free gift, but with the emphasis on its gratuitous character. Next, if water baptism saved Simon, he just lost it.
Nonetheless, we find another lesson; Simon believed and was baptized in water, but was refused the baptism with the Holy Ghost. So what should Philip have done? Was he not spiritual enough to see the hidden agenda of this “nightmare” named Simon? Should he then have taken Simon backward through the water? Should Peter or John have “taken Philip’s papers” or sent him back to wait on tables as he had been doing as a deacon?
No, the answer is found in Jude, “and on some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (Jude 22-23).
If candidates make “the confession of belief,” then we baptize them in water. We do not make the determination if they are “suitable material.” The Commandment is to “teach, baptize, and teach.” It is not: “judge to see if they are worthy” (Matt 28:19-20).
Even when Simon was told to pray, what did he say? “Pray ye to the Lord for me” (Acts 8:24) which was not the remedy to his problem for it was he who had to repent and pray. We find with Simon’s remarks, that the man’s heart was still using deception; thus, Simon later became known as the Father of All Heretics as he engaged in all sorts of witchcraft and heretical behavior.
Valuable Lessons: These lessons are valuable; we don’t refuse to water baptize anyone if they make their confession of belief. Neither do we confuse the Baptism which we do in water with the “Baptism with the Holy Ghost.” They are different, just as the “Name of Jesus” is not a matter of semantics, but a point of authority.
Authority granted to the Body: Jesus said, “in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,” showing One Name, or better ….One Authority (Matt 28:19). Included in the saying was the Son. The Body of Christ is the Body of Jesus, and the Authority was granted to the Body of Christ. No other religious order has the Authority of the Father, Son, or Holy Ghost.
The Report and the Witness – 1 John 5: This is also evident in the “Report and Witness” in 1 John 5. The “Report” is, “The Father, the Word, and Holy Ghost,” while the “Witness” is, “The Water, (representing the Mercy of the Father,) the Blood (which points to the Grace of the Word), then the Spirit as the Gift granted by the Baptism with the Holy Ghost.
One Name, One Authority: Whether we say “Jehovah,” “El,” “Spirit of the Lord”… it’s still One Name, remembering that the Authority was given to Jesus, as He commanded us to “Go” in His Name. So, whether someone who baptized us in water said: “In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” or “in Name of Jesus, it’s still One Godly Name.
The evidence, of course, is the result. Do we know we’re in the Body? If so…then it worked. The premise also shows that the person doing the water baptism should be a member of the Body, who can then receive our Token (Baptism) by the Authority granted.
Sons of Sceva: In support of this we find the “sons of Sceva” who were Exorcists; the word “Exorcist” doesn’t mean “one casts out devils,” it means that they bind them to silence within the person. Sceva was a chief of the priests and a man of the clothe, don’t you know. But it was the wrong clothe for the Name, which these “sons” attempted to use.
These sons had done Exorcisms before since they were called Exorcists; however, they wanted to broaden their abilities but lacked the position to do so. We see this problem when they came across a demon-possessed person and said, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.” The “sons” mentioned the name of “Jesus,” but they were not in the Body; thus they were not authorized to use the Name. So, the demon then said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye?” (Acts 19:15). The “sons” lacked authority; and so the demon tossed the sons of Sceva out of the house “naked and wounded” (Acts 19:16). If we cast out a devil and it leaves, we’re in the Body. If we take authority over any element of darkness, and it yields, we’re in the Body. Our baptism worked, but if someone baptized us in the Name of John, it doesn’t work (Acts 19:1-7).
Unto the Uttermost Parts of the Earth: Philip was also taken (led by the Spirit) to meet an Ethiopian eunuch of great authority who served Candace the Queen of the Ethiopians (Acts 8:26-27). This is also interesting, showing the hand of God in the moves of God. On the Day of Pentecost, there were 120 souls who received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Then 3,000 more were water baptized and after that, all those also received “The Gift.”
However, here with Philip, we find something different; this eunuch was an Ethiopian. Thus he was a Gentile, and so, the door to the “uttermost’ was beginning to crack open. Would Philip be the one to open it? No, the Holy Ghost would use him in this “one on one situation.” Then, Peter in the house of Cornelius added Paul and Barnabas. Thus no one person could say they brought the Revival. Whenever we focus on one person, we will make an idol out of them.
This meeting with Philip and the eunuch gives us the affirmation of the requirement of belief. It’s also obvious that Philip was not sent “back to the tables” for having baptized Simon in water. Here, the eunuch was reading Scripture, which generated a question. Philip would teach the eunuch by giving the answer (Acts 8:26-35). They came across some water and the eunuch said, “What does hinder me to be baptized?” (Acts 8:36). Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may” (Acts 8:37).
Philip didn’t say, “No way, I just went through this, so baptize yourself” or “well I don’t know, cross your heart and promise to die if you are lying.” Rather, the eunuch gave the one confession which we look for, “I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God”; then he was baptized (Acts 8:37). If the person cannot make the confession, we have no authority to baptize them; rather we can continue to teach them the more.
The First God Parents: During the Persecution, many “things” were started based on the circumstances of the time, but they were not considered Doctrine, nor supported by any Scripture. One such tradition was in reference to God-Parents. Those with children understandably wondered what would happen to their children if they, the parents were martyred; and so that their children would not end in the hands of the heathen, believers would take an oath to raise one another’s young in a Christian manner when it might become necessary. They secured this oath with a token linking each child to their “God-parent.” Thus, those taking this oath were then called the “God-Parents” or “Parents connected to God.” The token given regarding this commitment had to be something which the Body had the authority to do; thus, the God-Parent would baptize the infant in water, the water representing Mercy, with the act linking the child to the God-Parent.
This act was based on the circumstances of the day; it was never intended to be The Token for the infant since it obviously would lack a “confession of belief” on the part of the infant.
Dedication of Children: During those times (and still today,) we have also seen the “dedication of babies and children.” But this act is based on Jesus laying hands on the children and blessing them, placing this under the “Doctrine of the Laying on of hands,” (Heb 6:1-2) while the water baptism issue falls under the Doctrine of Baptisms. This all is still based on the Doctrine of Christ, but separated from the Doctrine of the Laying on of hands. Mixing the two Doctrines together would be a violation since they are separated (Heb 6:1-2).
Teach, Baptize and Teach the More: So we see a progression here…from the “Token” (Infant baptism) of the original God-Parents accepting the children, to “infant water baptism” becoming a Tradition of men. When this Tradition became a Doctrine, it not only removed the “personal Belief” issue (belief as a prerequisite to baptism), but it came against the Command to teach and then baptize.
Then, unfortunately, from the act of baptizing infants, the next step was the forming of the unfounded conclusion of “water baptism saving us,” rather than God saving us by the Cross of Jesus.
This conclusion brought about self-righteous efforts and assumptions regarding one’s salvation, such as, “the person by their act assumes that their act saved them,” which also removes the purpose of the Token, as well as negating “The Commandment.” What commandment regarding water baptism? The answer…To “Teach, then baptize.” So, if we can’t do the teaching, we can’t do the baptism (Matt 28:19 KJV)
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
Opposition to Infant Baptisms: In the 1500’s Martin Luther didn’t address the subject of infant baptism in his 99 Thesis since he evidently felt that there were more pressing problems of corruption destroying the Body.
However, there were others during those times who were opposed to infant baptism as a Doctrine. The concern of those opposed was that, as in the case of “Keeping a day” to worship,… if one feels better by doing so…then fine; but let’s not consider that infant water-baptism is done in accordance with The Commandment.
Doctrine vs. Tradition: Among those opposed to infant baptism being a Doctrine, were the “Anti-Baptists” who were so named because they were “Anti- infant baptism” as a Doctrine. They based their stand on the absence of Scripture to support the act; they also looked at the two-fold requirement that, first we teach and next, the person has to make their “confession of belief.” Water baptism is important as it is included in the Doctrine of Baptisms, but taking something beyond the Doctrine or beyond the requirements makes it a “tradition of men.” Then, making the tradition a doctrine makes the matter more complicated and more confusing for future generations, which robs them of the importance of the act.
Requirements for Baptism according to the Scriptures: The Scriptures give us the basic requirements regarding water baptism: the one doing the baptism must be of the Body (members are the only ones who have been granted this Authority); also, the candidate “must believe” and make a clear indication of their belief (Acts 8:37 – KJV): “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
These basic elements including the water must be in place to fit the Doctrine. Like most “traditions of men,” the thought became twisted into something it was not intended to be; then it became doctrine, causing many splits and controversies, as the gates of hell set up their divisions.
When a man-made tradition becomes doctrine: Doctrines based on the traditions of men always lack clear Scripture to support the elevating of man-made practices into becoming actual doctrine. So, when groups or individuals insist upon doing this, the situation usually becomes “resolved” or “justified” by the presentation of religious Dogma as the reasoning to change tradition into official doctrine.
For the Joy of It: As humans, there may be many areas wherein we may feel “good” about ourselves for performing some sort of practice, ceremony or act; but it is wise to bear in mind that the acts themselves may not be supported by the Rudiments of the Doctrine of Christ. “Keeping the sabbath day” is one for instance; if we want to set a particular weekend day apart for a focus on the Lord, for the “joy of it”… fine, but let’s keep this day “unto the Lord.” If we don’t want to set a weekend day apart… or if we pick some other day of the week to pray and worship, then fine, but let’s keep our “doing or not doing” unto the Lord.
Keep it unto the Lord: So, what does all this mean, to “keep it unto the Lord”? First, we are not to attempt to force a man-made tradition or practice on others as some point of holiness or doctrine. Next, it means that we should not expect any special favoritism from God because we do “keep the day” or perform some other practice….or not. As long as one is “doing it (a tradition or practice) unto the Lord,” let it remain so, between ourselves and the Lord. If we want to water-baptize our infants… fine, but let’s keep it between us and the Lord.
Does the tradition reflect Scripture? Now, if we want our practices to reflect Scripture, then how could we consider, for instance, an infant to be a member of the Body since by virtue of their age and lack of maturity, they have not yet made their own confession of belief?
So in this case, rather than thinking that water-baptized infants are actually “saved,” (entered the Body of their own understanding and will) …we can instead know that they have been sanctified by the believing parent, but not by the act of a baptism ceremony (I Cor 7:14). So, let’s not make these things doctrine, nor force any of this on others.
Doctrines of devils and the formation of cults: Doctrines of devils begin when someone wants to be “the special among the special,” the more superior among the superior, the holier than the holy, the more righteous, than the righteous. All cult systems begin with the lustful desire to be better than the entire Body of Christ, yet in the process, they have to deny the Unity of the Faith and Spirit. They have to add their “special things” to separate themselves from the rest of the Body, thereby assuming a false feeling of superior holiness. This behavior is often based on pride, not holiness; and therein we find the error.
As one example of this pattern, one could for instance… surmise something from reading a Scripture passage or one could decide on a belief from one’s own reasoning… such as, that “baptism must be conducted only in the daytime.” To justify or support this “theory” one might use verses in Scripture which describe a situation when “people believed and were baptized,” But in continuing to apply natural reasoning one could also add… “You see Luke wrote it, and when it happened, it took place outside. Thus it was daytime, showing any night baptism is heretical.” Sound goofy? You would be surprised how deceptive traditions can be. They often put the emphasis on some “element of the act” to give the person the glory, ignoring the purpose of the act.
Fundamentalism, Winds of Doctrine, and Fables: A fundamentalist is someone who takes the Bible strictly literally; if the word in Scripture is “Rock” for instance, to them, it then means a Rock; or if they see the word “Wife,” to them, it means Wife. However, a cultist is the complete opposite; they attempt to force concepts not suggested in Scripture into their doctrines. They also use the premise of “believe all things,” in a deceptive manner. As an example, consider this dialogue…
Q: “Tell me, are you a Christian?”
A: “Yes kind sir, I am”
Q: “Then you believe all things?”
A: “Yes friendly person, I do”
Q: “Then you must believe this…in order to be truly baptized, you must be facing the north, and the water has to come from the Jordan”
A: “Nay kind person” (who is weird)
Q: “Then you are not a Christian since you said Christians believe all things”.
What this person doing the questioning came up with, was a “fable.” The baptism by Philip was not in the Jordan; it was in Samaria and there is nothing in Scripture which “commands” us to use the water of the Jordan. Thus the premise of this dialogue becomes a moot subject and without merit. Without clear verses to support an issue, a “premise or practice” can either become a “wind of doctrine” or a “fable.” Peter would call the basis for this dialogue, an attempt at “private interpretation.” Really, there is no private interpretation; the “natural-thinking” attempt to interpret the Bible often ends in error or heresy (a self-based opinion without a verse to clearly support it).
Immersed: The same Holy Ghost who caused the holy men of old to write the words, is still fully able to interpret them; and this is also true regarding, “defining a word,” rather than forgetting what something stood for or missing the tense. Another example is, we could say, “baptism means Immersed, so being immersed in water is the only way a baptism counts.” Yet, the real issue is not whether or not we are in fact “immersed in the water” during our Baptism, but that we are “immersed in the purpose” (or did we say that? We did? Oh well worth repeating).
Sound study discipline demands that any inference in Scripture be related to the subject; if there is no related inference, then it’s a fable.
Connected Inferences: A connected inference is “a conclusion based on a clear premise, known and connected.” For instance, in John we find Jesus writing in the dirt, but in John we are not told what Jesus is writing (Jn 8:6). Back in John 7:37-39 Jesus taught on the Living Water and in Jeremiah 17:13 we find, “O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they who depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters.”
Here is where we find “the connected inference.” Whether Jesus wrote the verse or their names, they knew what He was doing, causing them to leave convicted by their own conscience (Jn 8:9 – KJV): “And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.” However, if we said Jesus wrote “you are stupid” in the earth, where would the inference be? There would be none.
Back to Baptism: And so it is with water baptism. If we remove the requirement of “belief” we have introduced the basis for heresy.
The candidates must be able to believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus before they are baptized, which is the only requirement for them and therein we find the difference between John’s baptism and the one we do. Based on the premise that we “believe first”… if the suggestion inherent in our baptism ceremony is that candidates “should believe” or “can decide later to believe” at some future date (such as baptizing an infant who cannot decide for themselves), we are involved with the wrong baptism.
The Paradox: Here is the paradox; at our Baptism; the water “surrounded” us and even metaphorically speaking, it was not “in” us. However, the baptism with the Holy Ghost is “in” us; thus we find two basic differences, helping us keep the two separate.
Bautizo: Generally, the Greek word for Baptism is the noun “Baptizo” meaning “To dip or immerse” or “to saturate,” but it’s the act becoming important. The act came from dying a cloth; the cloth was dipped into a solution to identify with the color of the liquid. Thus, the Verb means “to identify with.”
Many Baptisms to undergo: Peter used an example of “The flood and the saving of Noah” as a type of baptism. So was Noah immersed? No, he didn’t even get wet. However, Peter uses the “act” as a sign of our deliverance from the world. Noah didn’t go into heaven to escape the Flood as it was said that in his ark, he was raised above destruction on earth. Peter also said that it was not the same as putting away of the filth of the flesh, “Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh,” separating it from water baptism. Then he added that it was related to having the answer of a good conscience toward God, which comes when we have the Power of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is associated with the baptism with the Holy Ghost, “But the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (I Pet 3:20-21). For some reason when we see the word “baptize” we seem to attach the word “water” to it, but there are many baptisms we go through.
There are those who attempt to equate one baptism into another, missing the point. “When you were water-baptized did you become water? Then if you are baptized in the Spirit, you didn’t become Spirit.” Two errors: the wording “baptized in the Spirit” is the first one, and second, we didn’t drink the water, yet the water stood for Mercy. What we did do, was accept the Mercy of the Father.
Becoming Spiritual in Nature: The Holy Ghost baptizes or identifies us with God by giving us the Spirit, since God is Spirit, making the Spirit the Gift which the Holy Ghost brings (Acts 10:45 & 11:15-16).
Jesus said that Born of the Spirit is Spirit: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:6 (KJV)
In the Jewish thought process, this means that what is associated with the Spirit will become Spirit. The purpose of being Born Again is so our souls can become Spiritual in nature.
Living Waters: When we were baptized in water it related to Mercy, not water; the water is a physical symbol. When we take Communion we use symbols (bread & wine) in order “To Remember.” When we were baptized “with the Holy Ghost,” we received the Spirit as well as the Seal of the Holy Spirit, which is the Token proving the Resurrection. We didn’t drink the water, but Jesus said that Living Water would flow from our bellies; this spoke He of the Spirit (Jn 7:38-39). Couple the Water (Mercy) with the Spirit (Life), and it produces living water.
“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” Jn 7:38-39 (KJV)
Unto the Gentiles: One day Peter was on a roof. At the time, the Gospel was still limited to the Jews as Jesus had commanded them in Acts 1:8. We know the event; Peter saw a sheet and in it was all sorts of unclean animals. Peter was told, “Rise, Peter, kill, and eat.” (Acts 10:13) Peter being a good Jew said, “No.” But then he heard, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common (worldly)” (Acts 10:15). Peter knew something was up; he would later discern it to mean that God was about to clean a Gentile.
This vision happened three times, which had special meaning to Peter. He denied the Lord three times and in the last chapter of John, we know that he was asked three times regarding his love for the Lord. So, with his background, we find that the vision in Acts 10 made a striking impression on Peter.
Later Peter saw some men who came from the house of Cornelius, a centurion of the band of the Italian, who was not a Jew. Peter knew the vision was a command for him to receive Cornelius; thus he went his way to the house of Cornelius. While there, he began to teach Cornelius, as well as the house of Cornelius about the Name of Jesus. Then he taught how “those who Believe in Jesus shall receive the remission of sin by the Gift of the Holy Ghost.”
As Peter spoke, the Holy Ghost fell on all…on Cornelius and those of the house of Cornelius with the signs to prove it (Acts 10:43-44). Perhaps the most surprised was Peter (or the Jews with him). “Oh my Jesus missed, hit the wrong ones, you guys stop speaking in other tongues, it’s a mistake.” But, no, the Purpose was clear to Peter; the evidence was there since they spoke in unknown tongues and “did prophesy” just as Peter and the others had experienced on Pentecost. Peter immediately looked about, then commanded those of the house of Cornelius to be baptized in the Name of Jesus in Water (Acts 10:47-48).
Peter knew what he had seen: Jesus had accepted these people, so who was Peter not to do the same? Peter perhaps made an error by sticking around too long; thus when he returned to Jerusalem he had to explain his actions. However, when the Apostles heard that the “gift” was bestowed on Cornelius as they had also received and that this was based on the same premise of belief (Acts 10:17)… they held their peace. Peter then equated the event to being baptized with the Holy Ghost (Acts 11:15-16).
The Giving of the Gift of Grace: What does this tell us? The baptism with the Holy Ghost is the giving of the Gift of Grace as the Seed of God. Peter separated the baptism with the Holy Ghost from the water; the evidence shows that they (Cornelius & family) received the Spirit before Peter baptized them in water, dashing the concept of water baptism granting us the Spirit. Also, these verses show that there is no set order. We can be water-baptized, then baptized with the Holy Ghost or the other way around. Of course, Peter knew his charge; after seeing the evidence of “signs,” he immediately knew that water baptism was next and that this (baptizing these ones in water) was his duty.
These matters are basic; in Hebrews chapter 6 we find the “Rudiment” or the fundamental six basic principles of the Doctrine of Christ: “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God; Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” Hebrews 6:1-2 doesn’t give us the entire Doctrine, rather it’s the six basic pillars, yet within the Doctrine, we find “the doctrine of baptisms.” If this is basic and fundamental, don’t you think it would be nice to know what it’s all about? Yes, but how many of us were told we made a vow at our water baptism?
Paul tells us that our water baptism is “into Jesus” or better… “Into the Body,” which identifies us with the death of Jesus (Rom 6:3): “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
The Death of Jesus brought about the Mercy of God in the saying, “Father forgive them.” Paul affirms this to the Corinthians (I Cor 1:13 & 12:13), showing how water baptism is the Token of induction into the Body. However, he also told the Corinthians that they had the Spirit, but they were not spiritual (I Cor 3:1 & 3:16-17).
“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 KJV
Water Baptism is “identification with” the Mercy of God, while the Holy Ghost brings the Gift of Grace giving us the seal of the Holy Spirit of Promise. Both baptisms are important. If we class them in the proper order, we have the Mercy of the Father represented by the Water and the Grace of the Son in the Blood, with the Spirit by the Holy Ghost.
So why do we do the water baptism? The person is giving their Token of Mercy to the Body; they want to be the Bread. Taking this one step further… if we reject or refuse water baptism, would it be denying the Father? Yes, if we reject, or refuse the baptism with the Holy Ghost, would it be denying the Son? Yes, but worse would be accepting baptism, yet rejecting the purpose.
The Gates of Hell: “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18 (KJV)
Jesus said that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church, but it seems that the controversy and traditions over baptism are part of what has divided the Body. The gates of hell are points of ungodly division; thus gates are put in place to stop people from entering in or to keep people from moving forward. The word for “Gates” means a large gate, one like those used to separate the city from the outside world. Hell’s gates hold death in one form or another; ungodly division produces death. Paul told the Corinthians, “By the Name (Authority) of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (I Cor 1:10). Whenever a “gate of hell” is established we find a division hindering people from reaching the fullness of Christ.
The Corinthians had issues regarding Baptism: The Holy Ghost brings correction and teaches us by comparing spiritual with spiritual. But the “spirit of man” brings confusion, strife, and envy (I Cor 1:11-12). Ungodly carnal divisions bring contentions; contentions bring carnal restrictions usually producing traditions or heresy. Paul asked the Corinthians, “Is Christ divided?” (1 Cor 1:13). What caused this contention among the Corinthians anyway? The “issue” was Baptism (I Cor 1:14); Paul then said, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel” (I Cor 1:17). How can this be? Jesus told us, “Go ye and baptize.” Wait! Jesus said, Teach, then baptize. The Corinthians put all the emphasis on “who” baptized them, missing the Teaching, Belief, and Purpose for the act. Water baptism is vital and it’s something we can’t mess around with, but it’s also something to keep “in order.”
So, what did the carnal Corinthian place importance on? Was it the purpose of their baptism? No, it was “who” performed the baptism. Perhaps among some Corinthians at the time, their comments sounded like, “oh mine is greater because my baptism was performed by Apollos” (meaning it was based in John’s baptism), adding perhaps, “You know Jesus was baptized by John.” The next Corinthian might respond by saying…“Well, Paul baptized me in the Name of Jesus, so my baptism is better.”
Carnal minds center on the mundane as important, yet miss what is important. A perfect example of a “wind of doctrine” is found in the Corinthian debate over who baptized them; they forgot the purpose of the Token, making it something God never intended it to be.
In reference to the Doctrine of Baptisms, Jesus also asked John and James if they were willing to take of the baptism which He was baptized with (Matt 20:23). Was He talking about water? No, the disciples were already baptized in water and they had been baptizing others in water (Jn 4:2). This was the identification of service, one wherein the person is immersed in service to the point they can say, “I have no place to lay my head.” Therefore, we find there is a Godly division between the various baptisms, yet the purpose for all of them is found in Unity to make us one with God.
Building us into the Church: The purpose for being baptized into the Body is so we can be accepted by Jesus as He builds us into the Church. Why did Jesus tell Peter that “The Church” was yet future? This was because Spirit had not yet been given (Jn 7:38-39) “But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given: because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”
This helps us make the Godly separation between the water baptism which we do and the baptism which Jesus does. Water baptism did not bring us into the Body; it was a Token or sign of our acceptance of the conditions regarding the Mercy of the Father to enter the Body. The person who baptized us was a “piece of the Rock” and as such, they had the Authority to baptize us. Thus their act was their Token of accepting us. When Jesus speaks of “baptized,” it refers to the person being in the Body; thus Mark 16:16 is not a discourse on baptism, it’s a command to believe after we enter the Body. Sometimes we allow our belief to slip by the wayside, yet we need to keep our belief strong: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
Tokens with something in common: We can also see how Communion and Water Baptism have something in common; they each have tokens. Jesus held the bread in His hand saying, “This is My Body.” If it was His Body, how did He hold His own Body? Then Paul says we are the Bread, thus the Bread “represents something” but it is not “the something.”
Establishing the New Covenant: Jesus then took the Cup and said that His Blood was in the Cup; thus His Blood, not the Cup was the New Testament. Yet we know at the time that He had not yet shed His Blood. Was “it” really the actual “Blood of Christ?” No, it was a symbol of the Blood establishing the New Covenant.
So, taking (focusing on) the Cup, without consideration for the Covenant, misses the point completely. There are people who search to find the “cup” but forget that it was just a cup; however, being a symbol of the Blood of Christ makes it special. Really, if we want to find the Cup, we just need to look in a mirror. Peter says we are sprinkled with the precious Blood of Jesus; thus taking the Cup is a token of us. The wine or grape juice will not turn into the Blood of Christ since the act is one of Remembrance, not production.
When we entered the water, did we die? No, but it represented our acceptance and belief in the death of Jesus along with our vow to identify with the death, by imputing ourselves crucified with Christ. By this act, we were proclaiming to all those around how we accepted the concept of being Immersed in the Mercy of God. We would then prove this by forgiving as we are “Forgiven.”
Did the Red Sea save the children out of Egypt? No, but it’s the same idea; the water from the Jordan isn’t going to make our baptism more holy. It’s a Token or our signature on the Mercy Covenant. We were buried in the water, so what did it mean? Rather than “from dust thou came, and to dust thou returns,” we find that we were buried in the Mercy of God; thus God’s Mercy immersed us, whether the water did or not.
The Water and the Spirit: When we came out of the Water, were we resurrected? No; that was a sign of our continuing to seek and receive the Spirit through the Baptism with the Holy Ghost. So the same Spirit who raised Jesus will raise us; therefore we find the division. Water baptism relates to the death of Jesus, while the Spirit points to the Resurrection (Rom 1:3-4).
Two signatures to make a contract: If we walk by faith, why do we need the water anyway? We find that Water represents something. As new converts we used the water as a sign of the Mercy of God, giving our signature by submitting to water baptism. Jesus gave us His signature by the Seal of the Holy Spirit; two signatures, a contract makes.
The First Mass Baptism: What about the Spirit? On the Day of Pentecost we find two baptisms happening, one of them twice. The disciples were baptized with the Holy Ghost as they received the Spirit by the Power from on High. Then the people who “heard and believed,” had to be baptized in water and then baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). The Water part was conducted by the disciples, easy enough to determine: 120 baptized 120, making 240, who baptized 240, making 480, who baptized 480 making 960, who baptized 960 making 1,920, who baptized 1,920 and so forth, making the total mentioned. “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:41 KJV
If each baptism took a total of fifteen minutes, the entire matter would have taken about two hours. The baptism with the Holy Ghost would have taken about 30 seconds, so all could “receive” at one time (Acts 2:38).
The key to water baptism (as our token of entrance into the Body) is seen in the first mass baptism, as all those who believed were “received” into the Body (Acts 2:39).
The disciples, however, were baptized with the Holy Ghost to receive the Gift of Grace; the evidence was the “speaking with other tongues.” We know they received the Spirit since the baptism of fire was also accomplished, with the signs following (Acts 2:3-4). One of the groups outside heard the signs, knowing that this was much more than people talking in their native language. They heard the noise, yet the noise became their native language in their minds. The Holy Ghost interpreted the language, as it pertained to the wonderful things of God (Acts 2:12).
Another group heard the same sounds, but wondered if the disciples were drunk (Acts 2:13). Nonetheless the group “who heard,” listened further to Peter preach and then they wanted to receive. These were then water baptized in the Name of Jesus; then they too, received the Power from on High: two different baptisms, all in the same day, all found in the Doctrine of Baptisms.
Forgiveness by the Father is Mercy based; it’s our entrance ticket. It’s also the Unction (anointing of mercy) or covering over the Body. However, it’s clear we don’t “drink” the water and then presume that we are baptized; the pardon of sins is an inward act.
The Keys to the Kingdom: Jesus taught on Mercy many times; if we accept the forgiveness of our sins, then we must also use the “Keys” to the kingdom. Keys are not gates, they are not locks, and they are not doors. They open things locked or loose things locked up. The Water in our water baptism connects to “When ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25 et al).
The second we submit to water baptism, our Token brings us into this prayer, granting us the power to forgive in order to be forgiven. Jesus called this the “keys” to the Kingdom, yet He gave us the “keys.” The keys to the Kingdom are not to lock things up, they are given “to loose” the things kept from us.
Forgive as we have been forgiven: The convert must know that God isn’t going to forgive others for us; we must “remit the sins done unto us.” How? Let’s face it; there are those who seem to fit the “unforgivable” category, just as there are those who seem to fit the “unlovable.” But we allowed the Mercy of God to cover us (Immerse); and we then made a change of positions, from “I can’t forgive them” to “I have to.” Often it’s not that we can’t forgive, rather we just want some vindication or we want them to admit they were wrong, or we may crave some validation for the harm done to us. All God wanted from us was a request for Him to grant us His mercy; and in return, He asked us to forgive others in the same manner. Only instead of them asking, we find God asking us to forgive, as He for Christ’s sake has forgiven us. If His Mercy was able to forgive us, surely it is powerful enough to grant us the ability to forgive others. Our Repentance must include the extension to forgive things done unto us.
Ingress Aires – The Breath of Jesus: Prior we found that the prerequisite or permission for gaining the Holy Ghost was in the Ingress Aires of Majesty on High (Jesus breathing on them – Jn 20:21-22 KJV):
“Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost”
Then we see, “Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and who soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” John 20:23
However, we also find that the Ingress Aires could be misconstrued to mean that the disciples were given the power to go about forgiving people’s sins. It would be akin to the same error as thinking water baptism saves us, rather than water being a Token to show we are saved.
The Ingress Aires demands for us to remit the sins done unto us as part of the Permission “to receive ye the Holy Ghost in fullness.” Therefore, it does connect to the baptism with the Holy Ghost. Our water baptism centers on mercy or forgiveness, linking it to the Ingress Aires; but the breath also grants us permission to receive the baptism with the Holy Ghost. They are different baptisms but associated with the intended result, even the salvation of our souls.
We also know that this is a prayer issue; if we remit those wrongs done unto us, then the hurts, pains, with all the things connected to those wrongs will be remitted and then we will be free.
Would this include, even the memory? No, the desires to gain revenge, to get even, or seek validation will still be seen (as these are traits from the wrong spirit); yet, we will be vacated of those elements as the Mercy begins to become part of our nature.
Water baptism is so important that the requirements are narrowed down so we don’t start putting carnal regulations on the act. The candidate must believe in Jesus and we must use water. Whether they say the right words in their statement of belief or get the doctrinal points in order is not at issue. Whether we say, “In the Name of Jesus” or “In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” isn’t important; it’s being in the Name that’s important. Nonetheless, there are those who want to add elements or take some away to give themselves some self-importance. But if they place a stumbling block before a new convert, well, we know the result of that folly.
So why did Jesus submit to water baptism? Did He have to repent? Of course not, but when Jesus came to John, it was John who would make an interesting statement about baptism. Again, we find the word “baptize”; but we can’t automatically attach the word “water” to it. John came preaching about one baptism, yet he did another. He did baptize in water “unto repentance”; but he preached how the baptism unto remission was to be done by Jesus (Mark 1:1-4). So, when John said to Jesus, “I have need to be baptized of thee,” (Matt 3:14); what baptism was he asking for? Was it of water? Hardly; John preached how Jesus would baptize the people in the Holy Ghost and Fire, and so it was the baptism John wanted. Jesus rejected John’s request, not because John was like Simon, but because of the time and timing; thus we don’t restrict the word Baptism to water.
The Baptism of Jesus: When Jesus was baptized, the Father said, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” From this statement came the tradition of Jesus becoming the Son of God by the baptism, thus we become sons of God by our water baptism. Luke put the concern about heresy to rest by showing that when Jesus was 12 years old He knew that His Father was God. This Baptism opened the ministry for the “Son of man” while Jesus was declared the “Son of God” by the Resurrection (Rom 1:3-4). The Spirit rested on Jesus indicating that the purpose was the Cross and Resurrection; the Holy Ghost filled Him to deal with the masses (Jn 1:29-34).
Wow, what about our children? God has made a provision and a very good one. When Paul was teaching the Corinthians on this issue, he showed us how the protection of being in God’s family provides a covering from us to those in our family. The unsaved mate is set apart for a special work because of the saved mate; but more important to us as parents is, “Else were your children unclean: but now they are holy.” (I Cor 7:14). This has nothing to do with water baptism; it has to do with the believing parent.
Jesus & the children: We do find some other interesting things regarding children; in Luke 18:15 we find infants being brought to Jesus, not to have them baptized, rather Jesus would “touch” them. This goes to the “laying on of hands,” not the Doctrine of baptisms. In Matthew 19:13 the people brought little children to Jesus, not to be baptized, but for Him to lay hands on them.
Again this is with regard to the “laying on of hands” which is a separate aspect in the Doctrine of Christ (Heb 6:1-2). In Mark 10:13 it’s the same thing; they brought children to Jesus, not be baptized but rather that He might touch them.
The candidate remains with their choice: Have you ever said, “Well, gee…. sure; Jesus didn’t baptize anyone, as it says in John 4:2.”? Well, this would be true, but it also says His disciples did. Therefore, we also find when people brought the children, they didn’t ask Jesus to have His disciples baptize them. Because a child, even under John’s baptism, had to repent of sin, by saying they “would believe.” Taking choice away from a candidate is wrong, it removes the one requirement of Belief.
What about other baptisms? The Baptism with the Holy Ghost is when the Gift is inducted into the person, producing the Kingdom of God within; and from The Gift comes “Gifts.” Paul said, “For by Grace are ye saved through faith; and not of yourselves: it is the Gift of God” (Eph 2:8). So, what happened to baptism? Well, the foundation is… to be inducted into the Body, and then continue to believe, but it doesn’t end it. If it was a one-step endeavor, there would be no grave or Resurrection, just the Cross.
If “we believe” then we continue on to receive the other baptisms as well, bringing us into “by Grace (receiving the Spirit, New Man, Born Again) are you saved, through (Process) faith, reaching forward to the purpose of faith even the salvation of our souls.
The “Gift is Grace”: This is a Process, by Grace, but Through Faith. The Gift part is the Greek “Doron” meaning “to give” or “a gift given as an expression of honor.” But the word for Saved is not “Soteria,” but “Sozo,” showing a Process. We could mistake this to mean “the gift of salvation”; but the context is Grace, which is found in Ephesians 3:7 where we read “according to the gift of the Grace of God”, thus the Gift is not Sozo, it is Grace. Grace then becomes the “gift of the Holy Ghost,” reaching to the point of when our souls become spiritual in nature.
Attributes of a New Nature – as the seven “Gifts of The Gift”: What about those “Gifts of the Gift then?” Grace begins to establish a new nature in us by the New Man, as we become New in the New Man. In the New Nature, we do things by this Nature, but we also have “gifts differing according to the Grace” given to us (Rom 12:6). The Greek word for” gifts” in Romans 12:6 is “Charisma” meaning the “action of Charis.” The Greek word for Grace is Charis; thus we find that there are Charisma of Charis. These areas exist within us as influenced “by nature” which is to say that there are things we do, as we are moved by the New Man.
(1) “Prophecy” is the first one, not as the Office, but as the Spirit gives us words within, based on “The faith.”
(2) We have “Ministry,” but we wait to “hear from the Spirit.” We don’t “minister through” our pains or soulish conclusions.
(3) Then we have “Teaching” or the ability to “disciple” others.
(4) Then there is “exhorting” in a Godly manner.
(5) Then we see “giving,” not as the “Tithe of the Law,” but as the “tithes of a New Testament priest” from the heart, not out of necessity (demanding a return) or grudgingly (from manipulation), but cheerfully, as the Spirit leads.
(6) Then there is “ruling,” but by example, not ruling by commands or manipulation
(7) Then we have “mercy” which involves the ability to forgive as we walk in God’s forgiveness
These are seven areas which are not “pick and choose”; rather, they are elements or attributes of the new nature.
Tongues: “New Tongues” and “unknown tongues” are different; yet both are a result of being Born Again. The word “New” in New Tongues means “not like before,” referring to a language, with “New” based on a change in position and condition. For instance, rather than seek validation, the “new tongue” speaks of forgiveness. Unknown tongues are by the Spirit within us speaking the great and wonderful things of God in a language not understood by human ears (Acts 2:11 – KJV): “Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.”
On the Day of Pentecost the Church was born (as Jesus began to build it); and when the Holy Ghost brought the Gift, the result was 120 people (souls) all speaking in unknown tongues, something so New, it had never been done before.
Paul tells us that if we see “speaking in unknown tongues” in the assembly, we must also need the ”interpretation by the Spirit.” His foundation for making this statement is found in the events on the Day of Pentecost, which was the first time anything like that had ever happened. So we don’t need someone to “translate” or to go around attempting to find some earthly language, we seek the Interpretation. The language could be most anything, but it’s not of earth; thus if we attempt to find an earthly language, we are in error to begin with. If the Spirit interprets, why would anyone run around the world with a tape recorder looking for a translation? They are those who do lack the Spirit, obviously.
The “Tongues” issue is one thing; but the evidence shows us “Something New,” so new that “it was never before” as is the Baptism promised by Jesus… the one of the Holy Ghost. In Scripture, we find that the tongues were the Token, or sign that the Baptism with the Holy Ghost has happened.
Commandment regarding Tongues: There is only one commandment regarding unknown tongues; we are never to forbid anyone from talking in unknown tongues (I Cor 14:37 & 14:39). There is no commandment telling us we should speak, but clearly, there is one telling us” never to forbid it.” If we love Jesus, we will keep His commandments.
Tongues on the Day of Pentecost: On the Day of Pentecost we have three groups of people, not two. There were the speakers, the hearers, and then the mockers. If Peter spoke the language known as Phrygia and a guy from Phrygia heard him and understood… big deal it happens all the time. However, if Peter was speaking one language, yet a person from Phrygia, one from Libya, and another from Mesopotamia all heard the same language in their own tongue, then you have a miracle to the point of amazing the people (Acts 2:13-14).
The third group seemed to always be around somewhere. They were the mockers; they didn’t hear a thing but the actual noise, but it’s by this group that we know what the unknown tongues sounded like to the physical ear. This third group thought the disciples were drunk or that the disciples were speaking mumbo-jumbo. Paul explains this as the voice of the Spirit, and no man knows what is said. Thus he who speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not to man or in man’s language, but unto God (I Cor 14:1-2). Since no man understands, it means that no man can. Paul added that it was God doing the speaking, linking the speaking to the “Spirit which is of God” (I Cor 2:12 & 14:21). “For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God; for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.” 1 Corinthians 14:2
Paul also says the Spirit speaks mysteries, so it takes the Spirit to interpret. Paul himself spoke in unknown tongues and he wished that the Corinthians did as well, but he would rather they would prophesy.
“He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.” 1 Corinthians 14:4
From what we know about the Corinthians, we can see why; better they were to have spoken words of unity and Grace, than the words of division and contention. Paul then points out that tongues are “a sign,” not for them who believe, but for them who do not believe. Why? The words he uses means a Negative sign, it’s usually evident. The unbeliever will attack what they don’t understand; the spiritually minded discern until they do understand.
Paul’s context for Tongues is simple; first, let us review the conditions and recommendations regarding speaking in unknown tongues in the gathering. (This is not with regard to the person’s private prayer life.) If the whole group is speaking in unknown tongues, yet someone who doesn’t have the Spirit walks in, they will think like the third group on Pentecost, making up their minds that the congregation is a bunch of nuts or drunks. This serves no one and does no good; but if the same person walks in and hears God plowing the ground of their heart, bringing their hurts and pains to the surface where they can be healed, then we have something good for all concerned.
Paul isn’t saying that tongues are evil; rather his point is directed toward the needs of the person who walks in the door, who is not yet a believer. Paul even says that if we give thanks in unknown tongues we do well (I Cor 14:16-17).
Do we have to speak in unknown tongues and is it the only sign? No. Prophecy is another, but the main sign we seek is to see a change in a person. Now, if someone does prophesy, do they speak? Yes, so tongues being spoken have to be different.
What is Prophesy? Prophecy is “words from God.” Thus we have two elements of God speaking: One is in the language of the New Man to ABBA Father, making intercession for us, as the New Man speaks the wonderful things of God. Then Prophecy is God speaking in the language of the people present, but nonetheless speaking through a believer. “Well gee, what if I say something bad?” Well, no one speaking by the Spirit calls Jesus accursed (I Cor 12:3 – KJV): “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”
The yoke is destroyed “because” of the anointing: The Scripture tells us that the yoke is destroyed because of the anointing; Jesus said that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him because He was anointed. Put this together and we find that God breaks the Yoke so we can have the Anointing; and because of the Anointing, we gain the Spirit. If we have the Spirit, we are “Anointed,” meaning that the Yoke is broken.
Is the Yoke removed? No, it’s broken; we have to take it off and then accept the Yoke of Jesus (Matt 11:29). What does the Yoke of Jesus relate to? It relates to the “Rest of God,” meaning that we must “believe” in order to receive the yoke of Jesus, so we can find rest for our souls.
Removal of the “self-based nature” elements: The Baptism with Fire removes those self-building elements, the things of darkness which can rule us. As long as the “self-nature” governs our life, we will be in bondage. When anything of the old nature governs how we think or react, or guides us in what we do, then it rules us. If we make decisions based on anger, revenge, or strife, then those things become our god. We war against those rulers of the darkness which govern our thinking, by having the fullness of the Spirit (Eph 5:18-20 & Eph 6:12-18).
Sprinkled with water: Okay, what about being sprinkled in a ceremony? Is there some Bible evidence there? Well, the water is a symbol, just as the Communion cup and bread are symbols; it’s when we get locked into the definition and forget the purpose that the side “issues” arise.
In Acts 10, we find Peter going to Cornelius to speak of Jesus. As Peter was yet speaking, the Holy Ghost fell on the Gentile Cornelius and those of his household (Acts 10:44). We know about the event, but then we see the wording, “Can any man forbid water” (Acts 10:47). The geographical area was very dry, so water was important, yet no one said, “Hey I have a river here” or “yes my brother, I have a water truck here.” But this concern of Peter’s was Immediate; any water would do. Peter wasn’t looking for someone to have a river in their jacket pocket; he just wanted water then and there.
On the same note, the water from the Jordan isn’t going to make our baptism any holier than the water in the bathtub from the apartment next door or out of the kids wading pool. The only requirement which the early church had, was not to use polluted water (for obvious reasons), just as today we wouldn’t use water in the alligator pond at the zoo.
In conclusion: Now we know that the Doctrine of Baptisms has many great and wonderful experiences for us. We cannot discount one baptism for another; we must accept them all (and) in the authority connected to them.
Let us remember the Purpose and enjoy our Baptisms. Selah.
Sozo Short Studies are written by Rev. G. E. Newmyer ©; all rights reserved.
Note: The use of SOZO Bible Study Lessons, Newsletters, or Short Studies as written by Pastor G. Evan Newmyer prior to his passing from this world has been given to Ann M. Wolf by written agreement from the author. This limited permission includes sharing Rev. Newmyer’s content with others as the Spirit leads, for the purpose of “edification and encouragement” of the members of the Body of Christ while honoring the biblical principal to “teach the truth in love.” It was also Rev. Newmyer’s wish that beyond required expenses for duplication, communication, or distribution, no specific “fees” be charged for his content; rather, a free-will love-offering can be received by ministers in the course teaching. Please honor those terms and do so with respect to the copyright laws of the land and states. Read More.
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King James Version (KJV): For a greater understanding of these commentaries, please use the Authorized Version of the King James Bible for confirming the Scripture passages mentioned. Please see the article, “Why KJV” by Ann M. Wolf for information regarding why we use KJV.
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