Saturday, 17 May 2008

Four Baptisms

In the New Testament there are four different baptisms mentioned. There is a certain amount of confusion concerning these. Which affect us today? Which baptisms have passed away and which are still to come? It is our intention to bring some light to that confusion.

First and foremost it has to be understood that the word “baptism” means immersion. J. H. Thayer in his lexicon defined the word as, “to dip repeatedly, to immerge, submerge” p 94. This can be seen clearly when the Ethiopian Eunuch was baptised. He “went down into the water”, he was “baptised” and he “came up out of the water” Acts 8:38-39.

The Baptism of John
The first baptism we read of is that of John the Baptist, his baptism was a baptism of repentance. In Matthew 3:6-6 we read, “Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea, and all the districts around the Jordan; and they we being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they were confessing their sins.” John purpose was to “make ready the way of the Lord” Matt 3:3. We are not
 baptised with John’s baptism today. We are baptised with Christ’s baptism. John baptism has passed and it was replaced by the baptism of Christ.

This can be clearly seen in Acts 19:3-5. Here we read of the apsotle Paul coming upon some disciples of John in the city of Ephesus, “And he said , ‘Into what then were you baptised?’ And they said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ And Paul’s said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling people to believe on Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.’ And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Today we need to be baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Baptism of Fire
The second baptism wee are going to examine is the Baptism of Fire. John the Baptist makes mention of this baptism when talking about Jesus. In Matthew 3:11 we read “As for me, I baptise you with water for repentance, but He who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

It is interesting that in this passage we read of three baptisms. We have already looked at John’s baptism, he also mentions the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (which we will look at later) and he mentions the Baptism of Fire. There is a great deal of confusion about this baptism, but there ought not to be, especially if we read on to the next verse. “And His winnowing folk is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear his threshing floor; and he will gather His wheat into barns, but he will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire” Matthew 3:12.

It is clear here the Jesus is speaking about the eternal punishment. He is talking about the fires of Hell. As we read in 2 Peter 3:7, “But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” Hell is called the “lake of fire” Revelations 20:15. The Baptism of Fire is the baptism of eternal judgment.

The baptism of John has passed and is not applicable to us today. The baptism of fire is still to come on the judgement day, this is a baptism that no one wants a part of.

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