Baptism – Jewish Or Gentile?

Where did baptism come from? Is water baptism something Jews did or is it a Gentile invention? Why did people get water baptized? And who got baptized and why did they get baptized? How old were people when they got baptized? Did you ever really study baptism? Sure, most people know of or have heard about baptism but do they really understand what baptism is all about?
And why, when you say baptize, do people immediately think water?

If John the Baptist, a Jew, was baptizing with water, where did he learn that? John was baptizing people, Jews, and Jesus even went to John to be baptized with water. The word baptize is not in the Old Testament yet Jews were baptized with water. Remember,  the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament was written in Greek. Baptize is a New Testament word.

By definition baptize is like a bath or to  bathe, not sprinkled. So baptizing with water was immersion in the water. And the word baptize is not in the Old Testament but bath and bathe is in the Old Testament. In Leviticus 15 – bathe is made clean. Leviticus 15:13 KJV
  “And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean.”

God explains how Aaron would go into the tabernacle of the congregation and make an offering and bathe (wash with water) and in Numbers 19 – he would bathe himself in water.

The prophets and priests taught about baptism but it was called bath or bathe. That’s why when Jesus asked them if the baptism of John was from heaven or from man in Luke 20, the religious leaders knew exactly what Jesus meant by that question.

Luke 20:1-8 KJV  “And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders,
[2] And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?
[3] And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me:
[4] The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?
[5] And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not?
[6] But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.
[7] And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was .
[8] And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.”

So why would Jesus (a Jew)  tell John the Baptist ( a Jew ) John needed to baptize Jesus? So is water baptism a Jewish practice or a Gentile practice? And notice, at the baptismal, no babies were being baptized? And notice what the purpose of John’s baptism is, Matthew 3:11 KJV  “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:”

Even Paul the apostle tells us what John the Baptist’s baptism was in Acts 19:1-8 KJV  “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
[2] He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
[3] And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
[4] 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.
[5] When they heard this , they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
[6] And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
[7] And all the men were about twelve.
[8] And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.”

Remember,  Jesus sent the disciples out to preach the gospel and to baptize.
Matthew 28:18-20 KJV  “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
[19] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
[20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

The question is baptize them with water? Why would we ask that question? Notice in Matthew 3 when we are told about John the Baptist was baptizing. Matthew 3:5-6 KJV  “Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
[6] And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.”

But look at the rest of that and study the following verses. Matthew 3:7-12 KJV  “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
[8] Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
[9] And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
[10] And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
[11] 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:
[12] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

And we will pick it up from here next time. Until next time.

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