The Apple Of God's Eye

March 2, 2011

Your Spiritual Criminal Record

Filed under: Baptism,Repentance — melchia @ 3:07 pm
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It’s not easy to live with a criminal record. Many a criminal after he has been released from jail has met frustration after frustration as he tries to become accepted again in society. Often the ex-convict is just on the verge of landing a job when his would-be employer comes across his criminal record and then “coincidentally” decides it best not to hire him.

The ex-convict who wants to change is one man who yearns that society would forgive and forget what he has done. Here’s an individual who would do just about anything to have his record cleared.

The ex-convict may have broken some civil law of the land for which he was imprisoned and for which he has been cut off from society, but every human being on this earth has broken another law — and in doing so has cut himself off from his Creator. And if every human being is involved, you must be included!

But what is it you’ve done that God needs to forgive and forget? In what way have you cut yourself off from your God? Can you think of anything? Anything worthy of eternal death?

God dogmatically states in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” And Romans 6:23 just as dogmatically states that “the wages of sin is death.” So God is categorically asserting that everybody is worthy of death. Plain and simple. And everybody includes all of us.

But God does not leave us “hanging.” He has designed a system in which all our sins can be so blotted out that it will be as though they never existed. This is called, in the King James translation, “the remission of sins.” (more…)

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February 1, 2011

Where Did John The Baptist Get The Ceremony Of Baptism?

Filed under: Baptism,Biblical Characters — melchia @ 10:11 pm
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One of the greatest miracles of the Old Testament was a forerunner and type of what true baptism pictures today. It was the Exodus of Israel out of Egypt.

In I Corinthians 10:11, God reveals that these Old Testament events occurred to be examples to Christians. Now read verses 1-2: “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, and were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.”

The word here translated “baptized” means “immersed” or “plunged into.” Let’s understand the full meaning of this event.

Israel had just come out of captivity in Egypt. God said that He was going to bring them up out of that land of oppression — that pagan land of strange customs and evil ways. So God sent Moses to deliver them from their bondage in that land of sin.

Israel was in sin, living the wrong way. And God set His hand to deliver them.

After Israel’s Exodus from Egypt, God brought them to encamp “beside Pi Hahiroth, before Baal Zephon” (Exodus 14:9). To Israel’s amazement, they found themselves trapped, with the Egyptians closing in on them. The only way of escape was through the Red Sea.

When Israel saw Pharaoh’s army pursuing them, they became filled with fear (verse 10). But Moses assured them, saying: ” ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord….’ Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back… and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea” (Exodus 14:13, 21-22). This type of “immersion” was a veritable grave, and Pharaoh and his men all perished in it. For Pharaoh was still in sin and therefore was doomed (Romans 6:23).

Israel went through the Red Sea, picturing the death of that former way of life — then, coming up out of that grave by God’s grace, they were to enter a new way of life, a promised land.

And so in the New Testament God also requires Christians to crucify the old man, the former way, and to come up out of a watery grave and into a better way of life (Colossians 2:12).

Israel’s baptism was only a type. That baptism was under the Old Covenant, a physical agreement with physical ordinances and material rewards. But notice what God says about the New Covenant: “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” (Hebrews 10:16).

But what about John? Where did he get his authority? How did he know and understand the principle of baptism?

Answer: John had been taught those examples from childhood, for his parents were righteous before God (Luke 1:6). God, through the power of His Spirit, revealed to John the principle of baptism — that a people had to be prepared to hear the message of the soon-coming Messiah.

Repentant sinners needed to prove their repentance by an outward sign, as Israel did under Moses. That’s why John saw in Scripture that the original crossing of the Red Sea by a whole nation was a type of what each individual ought to do — be immersed, or baptized, in water.

Source: The Good News, May 1985

 

February 22, 2010

Where Did John The Baptist Get The Ceremony Of Baptism?

One of the greatest miracles of the Old Testament was a forerunner and type of what true baptism pictures today. It was the Exodus of Israel out of Egypt.

In I Corinthians 10:11, God reveals that these Old Testament events occurred to be examples to Christians. Now read verses 1-2: “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, and were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.”

The word here translated “baptized” means “immersed” or “plunged into.” Let’s understand the full meaning of this event.

Israel had just come out of captivity in Egypt. God said that He was going to bring them up out of that land of oppression — that pagan land of strange customs and evil ways. So God sent Moses to deliver them from their bondage in that land of sin.

Israel was in sin, living the wrong way. And God set His hand to deliver them.

After Israel’s Exodus from Egypt, God brought them to encamp “beside Pi Hahiroth, before Baal Zephon” (Exodus 14:9). To Israel’s amazement, they found themselves trapped, with the Egyptians closing in on them. The only way of escape was through the Red Sea. (more…)

January 11, 2010

Where Did Baptism Originate?

Water Baptism - Immersion Into God's Way Of Life

One of the greatest miracles of the Old Testament was a forerunner and type of what true baptism pictures today. It was the Exodus of Israel out of Egypt.

In I Corinthians 10:11, God reveals that these Old Testament events occurred to be examples to Christians. Now read verses 1-2: “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, and were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.”

The word here translated “baptized” means “immersed” or “plunged into.” Let’s understand the full meaning of this event.

Israel had just come out of captivity in Egypt. God said that He was going to bring them up out of that land of oppression — that pagan land of strange customs and evil ways. So God sent Moses to deliver them from their bondage in that land of sin. Israel was in sin, living the wrong way. And God set His hand to deliver them.

After Israel’s Exodus from Egypt, God brought them to encamp “beside Pi Hahiroth, before Baal Zephon” (Exodus 14:9). To Israel’s amazement, they found themselves trapped, with the Egyptians closing in on them. The only way of escape was through the Red Sea. (more…)

April 20, 2009

What is The Laying On Of Hands?

The laying on of hands is a symbolical act which sets individuals apart and signifies the imparting of spiritual blessings, authority, and power. In the Old Testament, a blessing was often conferred in this way. An example is Jacob’s laying his hands on Ephraim and Manasseh to pass on blessings they were to receive from God (Gen. 48:13-20).  

In the New Testament, a newly baptized person had hands laid on him for the receiving of the Holy Spirit. Notice in Acts 8:17-18 that after God’s ministers had baptized repentant converts, then “laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And … through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given.” Also see Acts 19:5-6 and II Timothy 1:6. 

The laying on of hands also accompanies an elder’s prayer for the afflicted. we read in Acts 9:17: “And Ananias … putting his hands on him [Paul] said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus who appeared unto thee in the way which thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mayest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 

Another purpose for the laying on of hands is that of ordination. An example is found in Acts 6. Here seven men became deacons when the apostles prayed and “laid their hands on them” (verse 6). 

The laying on of hands, then, serves to show that God works through His ministers. This ceremony is mentioned as one of the basic doctrines of His Church in Hebrews 6:2.

March 10, 2009

Is Baptism For The Dead Biblical?

The practice of being baptized for those who have died is based upon a wrong understanding of I Corinthians 15:29.

The inspired New Testament Church did not follow this practice, and the apostle Paul did not teach it. This custom was introduced into the professing Christian world about A.D. 150 by Marcion, a man who created his own religion and established his own church in Rome in A.D. 144. The Bible clearly shows that before a person may be baptized, he must first repent (Acts 2:38) and believe (Mark 16:16; Acts 16:31, 33). The dead are not able to repent or believe, because “the dead know not any thing” (Eccl. 9:5).

Baptism is for the living. Baptism is a symbol whereby the living acknowledge their sins, figuratively die with Christ in a watery grave, and rise out of that watery grave to live a new (righteous) life through Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:4; 8:9; Gal. 2:20). Baptism is also a symbol of the resurrection. To rise up out of the watery grave is to acknowledge belief in the resurrection of the dead (Rom. 6). To surrender one’s life to Christ now, to crucify the self now, to be baptized — all this is foolish unless there is a resurrection of the dead. If there were no hope of the resurrection, life could be summed up this way: “Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.” Please compare I Corinthians 15:32. I Corinthians 15:29 now becomes clear.

The subject of the entire 15th chapter is the RESURRECTION. Paul cites the example of those who were baptized as one proof of the resurrection. Their actions symbolized their hope that they would live again. The resurrection is THE HOPE OF THE DEAD. “Why were they baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not?” seems to be Paul’s question in the King James Version. But, this verse is not correctly translated from the original inspired Greek. Paul is not talking about being baptized “in the place of” the dead, or “on behalf of” the dead, or “for” the dead.

The Greek word translated “for” is HUPER. This word has several meanings and can be translated “above,” “over,” “instead of,” “for the realization of,” or “for the hope of,” depending upon the context in which it is used. Notice the following example. Paul declared, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). The Greek word translated “of” in this verse is HUPER, the same word used in I Corinthians 15:29. In Philippians 2:13, HUPER cannot mean “instead of.” It would be senseless to say, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do INSTEAD OF His good pleasure”! Correctly translated, this verse says, “God worketh in you both to will and to do FOR THE REALIZATION OF His good pleasure.”

This is the translation given in “The Analytical Greek Lexicon”. What is God’s “good pleasure”? “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom,” declared Jesus (Luke 12:32). God works in us “in the hope of” giving us His Kingdom! Thus, the Greek word HUPER in I Corinthians 15:29, according to the context, should be translated “for the hope of.”

Notice the verse again: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the hope of the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the hope of the dead?. What is the hope of the dead? It is the resurrection! Paul is writing about baptism; baptism illustrates the hope of the resurrection. Baptism — arising out of a watery grave — is a symbol of the hope of the dead, which is the hope of the resurrection. This verse, then, has nothing to do with the false doctrine of baptism on behalf of the unbaptized dead.

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