The Baptism of Repentance
As we continue our study in baptism, we now come to the baptism of Y'shua. All four gospels record Yochanan baptizing Y'shua, although the book of Yochanan reveals a bit less detail of the natural and more detail of the spiritual. We know that the ministry of Yochanan the immerser was the baptism of repentance, but did the Messiah have need to repent? Was Y'shua baptized after repenting and turning from His sins or was He baptized to fulfill all righteousness? Well, I suppose that was a wee bit leading.
"And Y'shua answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him."
Boy oh boy, sometimes the King James English is irritating. There seems to be a whole lot of suffering going on here. Yochanan has viewed this whole process as bass-ackward. You should be baptizing me, he says, but the Messiah has already baptized Yochanan, if you know what I mean. The preparer of the way must be prepared before the preparer of the way can prepare the way. I believe Yochanan had some insight into Who the real baptizer has always been in Yochanan's gospel.
"Yochanan bare witness of Him, and cried, saying, This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me. And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace."
I believe that fulfilling all righteousness is clearly understood in it's context. The word 'fulfilling' in Mattityahu 3:15 is pleroo in the Greek and mala' in the Hebrew. It's form here is the same form in which it occurs in Mattityahu 5:17. It is in the infinitive, active, and aorist tense. This means that Messiah is fulfilling all righteousness and has not completed His fulfilling. Messiah is establishing righteousness by doing what is righteous. Baptism is the righteous thing to do. Y'shua is our pattern and example. I believe that Y'shua's call to be our pattern is revealed in the Hebrew word for pattern, which is tavniyt. (See Sh'mot 25:9, Ivrim 8:1-5.) The root of this word is ben, the Hebrew word for son. I also believe that this example He has set for us is expressed in the very consistent cries to follow Him.
"And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice."
"Then said Y'shua unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."
"Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Messiah."
"For even hereunto were ye called: because Messiah also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps:"
There are two primary words used in biblical Hebrew to express our English concept of following. One is yalak and the other is radaph. The word yalak is dominantly translated as walk. The word radaph is much more intense and etymologically means to actually chase after or pursue. When both words are used in context with the Lord, they both also express the idea of following.
"Come,(yalak) ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of YHVH."
"And many nations shall come, and say, Come,(yalak) and let us go up to the mountain of YHVH, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk (yalak) in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of YHVH from Jerusalem."
"The way of the wicked is an abomination unto YHVH: but He loveth him that followeth (radaph) after righteousness."
"He that followeth (radaph) after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour."
"Then shall we know, if we follow (radaph) on to know YHVH: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth."
The Messiah is the one that comes as the latter and former rains. This is all part of God's plan to teach us and to know Him. He will take upon the form of a servant and be a living, breathing example of what His righteousness looks like when obeyed. Messiah came to restore unto His people the Torah. Now, tell me if you think it is a coincidence that the Hebrew word for the former rain is yarah. Does that look familiar? It should, for it is the root of the word Torah.
All right, back to our subject. Y'shua's baptism was to serve as our example as we follow in His footsteps, as we take up our tree and follow Him. Before Yochanan brings up his confusion of who should baptize who, he mentions that Y'shua came to baptize in the Holy Spirit and with fire. Now, remember that Yochanan's baptism is of repentance and it was to prepare the way for Messiah. Repentance (shoov) means not only to turn from something, but to turn back to something. We discussed the people that Yochanan baptized in our last time together. These people were not baptized in the Holy Spirit as yet. I believe, as I hope to show, that baptism in the Holy Spirit is our immersion into the body of Messiah. Of course, these people had not so much as heard of Messiah or the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-6).
I do not believe some of the trinitarian teachings. I do not believe that there are three separate persons, each doing their thing. I teach that the one God is perfectly capable of ministering to His people in diverse ways and yet still remain omnipresent in the universe and one. I do not believe that one can have the Messiah, but not the Holy Spirit. Nor do I believe that one can have the Father, but not the Son, or the Holy Spirit and not the Word of God. When you receive the seed (the Word of God) you are indwelt by YHVH. It is the Word of God that regenerates and gives life. Regeneration is an action and the Ruach HaQodesh (Holy Spirit) is the term used to express the demonstrative, active presence of God. However, you cannot separate the Spirit of God from God or from the Word of God. They are all the one God. I believe that there are various terms, for lack of a better word, that are used in the Hebrew and carried over in the Greek and English to express the different attributes of the one God. Here is the bottom line. When you are reconciled to God you receive His Word or Seed. You receive the Word, YHVH, the Holy Spirit, Y'shua, the Father, the Creator and the one true God. Everything that comes after that is fruit. How much and how often His fruit is manifested depends upon the contents of the soil, light, water, and tender loving care.
Yochanan's baptism was soil preparation for The Seed. Yochanan tells us, however, that someone will come after him and He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit. This is the regenerative work of the Word of God, expressed through the words Ruach HaQodesh. This is how we receive the Seed. The Spirit of God is God. This means He is just as omnipresent as God. The Holy Spirit can indwell you and I, and still be everywhere at once. This the Spirit of God has been doing from the beginning. You cannot be a child of God without the Seed of God in you.
Next time we will talk about the different ways that baptism in/with the Holy Spirit is expressed in scripture.