What is baptism? Is there a proper or improper procedure? And is it required for salvation?
First it must be
understood that baptism was performed before John the Baptist's time by Hebrew priests in the Old Testament to bring about the removal for sin, and in the Hebrew language, this is known as "mikvah" or immersion. Water immersion is Torah-based - not a New Testament invention.
"Baptism" was performed in the Tanakh, and is
identified in the traditional translations as "washing". The
priesthood washed their flesh with water before, after, and during
the means of making atonement, or bringing about the removal for
sin, and in the Hebrew language, this is known as "mikvah" or
immersion. This was also the command of the prophet, Elisha,
to Naaman the leper, when he commanded him to mikva or dip seven
times and be cleansed. Again, as Yohanan prepared the way for
YHWH the Messiah (Yahshua), he commanded the crowds to mikva or
immerse for the remission of sins, in accordance with the Torah
commands which deal with this.
In our day, some confusion has
arisen about the practice of mikva, much of it being introduced by
the Catholic or harlot church. Several of these points are as
A baby has no knowledge of right or wrong. The existence of
the Torah combined with the knowledge of sin is what makes something
sin for us. (For example, nakedness was not a sin for Adam and
Chava (Eve) until they KNEW, and then the Torah required that they
be clothed.) As Rav Shaul said, "If I KNOW to do
good, and do it not, it is sin unto me." A baby does not know
to do good and do it not, therefore baby baptism for the remission
of sins, although it may fill the "letter", does not fulfill the
spirit or intent of the Torah.
2. There is NO
SCRIPURAL BASIS for a so-called "age of accountability", before
which one can not mikva or immerse. Provided that they are of
an age where they make the decision and can fully understand
the importance and purpose of the procedure, mikva may take
place at any time.
3. Mikva was NEVER
performed by sprinkling, but by COMPLETE IMMERSION. The Greek
word translated "baptism" is #907, baptizo, meaning "to make whelmed
(i.e. fully wet)", and this word comes from #911, bapto, meaning "to
whelm, i.e. cover wholly with a fluid". Naaman is a prime
example of this, as is the Messiah, who "came up out of the
water" following his immerison by Yohanan (John).
4. Scripture never limits the number of
times which a person may mikva. In fact, it was a
Scriptural command that every time you become physically
unclean (i.e. in contact with a dead body, etc) that you
were to mikva, and again be considered clean at evening. Mikva
was also preformed for physical healing, as we see with the blind
man at the pool (mikva) of Bethsaeda, in
5. Scripture never
teaches that a mikva or immersion must be performed by someone
else. In fact, we have the Scriptural evidence that the
apostles COMMANDED the crowd to be immersed, and some 3000 were
saved. Logic tells us that 12 men did not immerse 3000
people, or they would have been found floating downstream by
the end of the day. Rather, the
crowds immersed themselves.
is recorded as having immersed the Messiah, and Philip also immersed
the Ethiopian man, whereby it is obvious that such a procedure is
not wrong, and may even be advisable, but is not
6. Immersion for the remission
of sins should be in the name above all names, which is "YAHWEH our
Salvation" (Hebrew, YAHshua) or YAHWEH the Messiah, and performed
for the remission of sins. "In the Name of..." requires
that it be in Yahweh's AUTHORITY, and that the purpose for the
immersion be well known and proclaimed. Apart from complete
immersion (preferably in running water, such as a river or stream)
in the Name of YAHWEHshua Messiah, there are no other Scriptural
requirements or commands. The "forward only", "backward only",
"bending at the knee or waist" or "number of times in sequence" are
all halacha or tradition, and therefore a matter of personal
preference, but by no means find their roots in any Scriptural
Mark 16:16. He who
believes and has been immersed, shall be saved, but he who does not
believe shall be condemed.
[Therefore] repent and let each one of you be immersed in the Name
of YAHshua Messiah for the forgiveness of sins, and you shall
receive the gift of the Set-Apart Spirit. 39. For the
promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar
off, even as many as Yahweh our Elohim shall
Acts 22:16. And now, why do you
delay? Rise up, be immersed, and wash away your sins, calling
on the Name of YAHWEH.
12:13. For indeed by one Spirit are we all immersed
into one body, whether Yahudim or Greeks, whether slaves or free,
and we were all made to drink into one
Galations 3:27. For as many of
you as were immersed into Messiah have put on Messiah.
28. There is neither Yahudite nor Greek, there is not slave
nor free, there is not male and female, for you are all one in
Messiah YAHshua. 29. And if you are of Messiah, then you are
seed of Avraham, and heirs according to promise.