Baptism Represents Death and New Life
We first read the word Baptism in the Greek New Testament. Baptizo #907 is a verb meaning to submerge. Immersion was not a foreign concept to the 1 Century religion of Judaism. The Hebrew word Miqvah #4723 means a gathered reservoir or collection of (living) water. Miqva’vot are used today by Jewish men and women to achieve ritual purity.
Many ancient Miqva’ot have been discovered by archaeologists but most recently, the one pictured below, dating back to 20 A.D., in Magdala. We read about the region of Magdala in Matthew 15:39. This is the place we read about Mary Magdalene, (a woman of Magdala #3094), Matthew 28:1.
Jesus, called Yeshua, meaning Salvation in Hebrew, His full Name being Yehoshuah, YHVH’s Salvation, was a descendant of Judah, born into the Jewish religion. Like the majority of His followers, they would have heard the Hebrew Scriptures read in the synagogues every Sabbath; Acts 15:21; Acts 13:27; Acts 17:2; Acts 18:4; Luke 4:31
“For Moses has been proclaimed in every city from ancient times and is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.” Acts 15:21
This is how everyone heard and knew Torah, more specifically, by knowing Torah, they knew how to spot a false prophet. If someone came claiming to be a spokesman for God but their words didn’t match up, adding or subtracting to the plum-line of Torah, they failed the test of a true prophet.
Even the most naive Torah observer knew God tested/proved their hearts, to reveal whether they would guard His Commandments or not, Deuteronomy 8:2.
My point being, If you believe Yehoshua added or took way from Torah or drew people away from Torah to start a new religion, that does not match up to Torah, your heart is deceived and you have not guarded His Commandments.
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah and the Prophets, I did not come to abolish but to fulfill/complete. Truly, I say to you, til heaven and earth pass away not one jot or tittle will pass away until everything is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17, 18
Yehoshua exposed the legalism of the religious leaders who had added heavy burdens to Torah. He revealed misunderstood spiritual truth hidden in Torah, by parables He knew the humble would seek to understand: Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; 30:17; Proverbs 30:6; Matthew 13:13,14, 23:4; John 5:39; Luke 24:27.
Yehoshua’s Words Pass The Test of Torah
What do we do when our bias translations make it look like Yehoshua is teaching something new, like Baptism? We do what the noble Bereans did, they examined the Scriptures daily to see if these teachings were true, Acts 17:11.
Is the concept of baptism or immersion found in Torah?
I started from the beginning, Genesis 1:1-9 says the earth was covered by water and dry land doesn’t appear until verse 9. Again in Genesis 7:19, 20, Noah and his family are saved in an ark while even the high mountains of the earth were covered by water. The earth was totally Immersed or Baptized by water.
“But they deliberately overlook the fact that long ago by God’s Word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water.” 2 Peter 3:5
Baptized Into Moses
“I do not want you to be ignorant brothers, our forefathers were all under the cloud, and that they all passed through the sea. We were all baptized/immersed into Moses, in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, all drank the same spiritual drink, they all drank of that spiritual Rock that followed, and the Rock was Messiah, ” 1 Corinthians 10:1-4
Paul is pointing out these physical examples have Spiritual meanings. They were all immersed into Moses, Torah and Moses are used interchangeably, and Water is also used as a metaphor for Torah, Isaiah 55:1; Matthew 5:6.
Now we are Immersed into Messiah, who Is The Word of God, The Torah, John 1:1.
“or do you not know that all who are baptized/immersed into Messiah are baptized/immersed into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through immersion unto death, that as Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of Life,” Romans 6:3,4
Baptized Into Messiah’s Death, Raised With Him to New/Spiritual Life
Preparing the way for Messiah we see John the Baptist proclaiming that “All flesh will see God’s salvation,” crowds of religious Jews were coming to be Immersed by him as this was not a strange ritual to Judaism.
The question is, why did John address the group of religious leaders like this?
“…you brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?” Matthew 3:7; Luke 3:7
Religious People were flocking to be baptized, confessing their sin and repenting/turning back, but what were they turning from? Matthew 3:11; Acts 19:4.
Why did Yehoshua insist that John Baptize Immerse Him when He had nothing to repent from? Matthew 3:13. He was sinless, not needing purification, He was the Word/Torah, the Way, Truth and Life.
My opinion is He was baptized for our sins/iniquity, that He bore; 1 Peter 2:24; Isaiah 53:4, 5, 11; 1 Corinthians 15:3…
Immersion is symbolic of a Spiritual change, a new beginning, like the earth coming out of water. When Yehoshua emerged from the water the Spirit, like a dove, rested on Him and lead Him into the dessert/wilderness for 40 days: Matthew 3:16; Matthew 4:1.
For those familiar with Torah, He Is the picture of the scapegoat, Leviticus 16:10
“He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2
I can tell you with certainty Yehoshua (YHVH’s Salvation) didn’t found any new religion. He was calling the Jewish religion of the 1st Century to turn from the corrupt teachings of their religious leaders and be Immersed in the Spiritual, Living Water of, Torah.
For more information about the New Testament phrase “Repent and be Baptized,” and its original Hebrew meaning click on the link below: