God’s original Old Testament promise to
His people that He would save them was symbolized by His promise
to purify them through sprinkling.
24 "For I will take you from among the nations, gather you
out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.
25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean;
I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;
I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you
a heart of flesh.
27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My
statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers;
you shall be My people, and I will be your God.
29 I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses.”
We are saved through washing of regeneration and
renewing by the Holy Spirit which is poured out on us by Jesus.
4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward
5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according
to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration
and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our
7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs
according to the hope of eternal life.
Thus, the sign of cleansing in the Old Testament
20 But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself, that
person shall be cut off from among the assembly, because he has
defiled the sanctuary of the LORD. The water of purification has
not been sprinkled on him; he is unclean.
This is reiterated again in the New Testament.
15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had
16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after
those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts,
and in their minds I will write them,"
17 then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will
remember no more."
18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an
offering for sin.
19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by
the blood of Jesus,
20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through
the veil, that is, His flesh,
21 and having a High Priest over the house of God,
22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies
washed with pure water.
1 Corinthians 10:2 tells us that the nation of
Israel was baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.
1 Corinthians 10:1-2
1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all
our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea,
2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
From clouds come rain, and from God’s Glory
Cloud comes his special baptismal rain. Psalm 77:14-20 tells us
that as Israel walked through the Red Sea dryshod, between the
walls of water, it was raining on them.
14 You are the God who does wonders; you have declared Your strength
among the peoples.
15 You have with Your arm redeemed Your people, the sons of Jacob
and Joseph. Selah
16 The waters saw You, O God; the waters saw You, they were afraid;
the depths also trembled.
17 The clouds poured out water; the skies sent out a sound; your
arrows also flashed about.
18 The voice of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; the lightnings
lit up the world; the earth trembled and shook.
19 Your way was in the sea, your path in the great waters, and
Your footsteps were not known.
20 You led Your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Thus, Paul can write that Israel was baptized
in the cloud and in the sea (1 Corinthians 10:2 above), just as
Peter can write that the descending water of rain at the flood
1 Peter 3:18-21
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust,
that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh
but made alive by the Spirit,
19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,
20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering
waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared,
in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.
21 There is also an antitype (symbol) which now saves us--baptism
(not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of
a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus
The waters from below were for the wicked, while
the waters from above were for the righteous. When Noah was in
the ark, who went under the water and who was sprinkled? When
Moses marched through the Red Sea, who went under the water and
who was sprinkled?
The mode of baptism is not critical, except that
we should understand what it means to us.
I believe that Jesus’ baptism was a high
priestly baptism. There were three requirements of a high priest
under the Law of God: They must have been thirty years old or
above, they must have been sprinkled to cleanse them, and they
must have been called of God.
1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying:
2 “Take a census of the sons of Kohath from among the children
of Levi, by their families, by their fathers' house,
3 from thirty years old and above, even to fifty years old, all
who enter the service to do the work in the tabernacle of meeting.
4 This is the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle
of meeting, relating to the most holy things:”
5 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
6 “Take the Levites from among the children of Israel and
cleanse them ceremonially.
7 Thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of
purification on them, and let them shave all their body, and let
them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean.
1 For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for
men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts
and sacrifices for sins.
2 He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray,
since he himself is also beset by weakness.
3 Because of this he is required as for the people, so also for
himself, to offer sacrifices for sins.
4 And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called
by God, just as Aaron was.
5 So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest,
but it was He who said to Him: “You are My Son, today I
have begotten You.”
6 As He also says in another place: “You are a priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek”;
The chief priests, scribes and elders didn’t
like Jesus teaching in the temple. They asked Him by what authority
He taught, because only the priests could teach in the temple.
Therefore they wanted to know who had made Him a priest. Jesus
answered them by asking them if His baptism was from God or men,
for His baptism completed the requirements of His priesthood.
45 Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who
bought and sold in it,
46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is a
house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”
47 And He was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests,
the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him,
48 and were unable to do anything; for all the people were very
attentive to hear Him.
1 Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people
in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests
and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him
2 and spoke to Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority
are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?”
3 But He answered and said to them, “I also will ask you
one thing, and answer Me:
4 The baptism of John-- was it from heaven or from men?”
5 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say,
‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why then did you
not believe him?’
6 But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone
us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet.”
7 So they answered that they did not know where it was from.
8 And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what
authority I do these things.”
So you see, Jesus’ baptism was not a baptism
of repentance (how could it be, since Jesus is perfect), it was
a high priestly baptism which would complete the requirements
of the Law, and thus give Him authority as a priest, and thus
to teach in the temple.
14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be
baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”
15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be
so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”
Then he allowed Him.
How did the Ethiopian eunuch know he needed to
be baptized? He was reading Isaiah.
26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise
and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem
to Gaza.” This is desert.
27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch
of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians,
who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem
28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah
29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake
30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah,
and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?”
And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.
32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this: “He
was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before its
shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth.
33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away, and who will
declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.”
34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of
whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?”
35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture,
preached Jesus to him.
36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And
the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from
37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart,
you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that
Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip
and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.
39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord
caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he
went on his way rejoicing.
The baptism spoken of in Isaiah is sprinkling.
13 Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted
and extolled and be very high.
14 Just as many were astonished at you, so His visage was marred
more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men;
15 So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths
at Him; for what had not been told them they shall see, and what
they had not heard they shall consider.
This is also spoken of in Ezekiel 36:24-27, previously
If we are to be baptized as Jesus was, we must
be sprinkled, as the priests were sprinkled, since we are now
1 Peter 2:9
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy
nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises
of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
Many who espouse baptism by emersion cite Romans
6:1-5, saying that we should be put under water as though dying,
thus being buried with Christ.
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace
2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into
Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death,
that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the
Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death,
certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
However, the baptism of Christ spoken of here
in Romans has nothing whatsoever to do with water. The baptism
of Christ was a persecution and agonizing death as referred to
in the tenth and fourteenth chapter of Mark below (can you drink
37 They said to Him, "Grant us that we may sit, one on Your
right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory."
38 But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you ask.
Can you drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism
that I am baptized with?"
39 They said to Him, "We are able." So Jesus said to
them, "You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with
the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized;”
33 And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to
be troubled and deeply distressed.
34 Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful,
even to death. Stay here and watch."
35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed
that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him.
36 And He said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for
You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will,
but what You will."
Therefore we must die to self to be raised in
newness of life. Our old self is buried. Since when does going
under water have anything to do with burial?
All except John did, in fact, suffer agonizing
persecution and violent death. They did drink the same cup that