Baptism

Key verses – Matthew 28:16-20:
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Jesus’ command to His disciples contains three parts:
  1. Teach the nations
  2. Baptize them
  3. Teach the nations
The first thing I noticed about this passage is that Jesus mentions teaching twice. The first teaching that Jesus is talking about is the teaching used to provide information. After hearing this information, the gospel truth, the Holy Spirit works in the hearts and minds of the listeners, anchoring the spoken and written word within the recesses of the mind. As the truth embeds itself into the minds of the hearers, further study is required. More truth is collected, analyzed, and stored for future access.
This initial learning process is incremental and will eventually lead to baptism. As a personal example, it took 8 years of study for me to be convinced of the things I was learning. Even then, I gave it another year, just in case. Baptism is a symbol of rebirth, of giving in to the call from God and renouncing the old sinful ways of the world. Baptism represents capitulation to the will of God. It is the ultimate sacrifice that we as humans can make and it is not to be taken lightly. Also, baptism is not just symbolic. The Holy Spirit finds a much better home in the body and mind of the baptized Christian. The baptized is much more receptive to the voice of God and is much more likely to follow His instruction.
This leads us to the second mention of the “teach the nations” command, which is just as important as the first, if not more. Jesus tells his disciples to instruct the newly baptized to observe all the things that Jesus commanded the disciples to observe. After baptism, the life of the Christian is meant to change. We are meant to be closer to God, to read His word daily, to pray constantly, and to be a light unto the world. All these directives require instruction from the Christians who have been practicing for years. Bible study with an elder, prayer meetings with brothers and sisters, and following the good examples in the church are practical ways to live a Christian life in accordance to the commandments of God.
Let there be no confusion about what God expects from us in these last days, or about what Jesus commanded his disciples to observe. In Revelation 12, verse 17, we are told that the remnant church will keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. God expects us to keep all His commandments. There is no excuse not to do so. He also expects us to have the words of Jesus imprinted into our very being. Just as Jesus commands the disciples to teach the nations to observe his instructions, so John the apostle reminds the remnant church to observe the instructions of Jesus, his testimony.
Let us not forget in these last days about these extremely important parts of the Christian life: baptism, keeping the commandments of God, and observing the teachings of Jesus Christ. May the Lord guide you as you reflect upon these matters.
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20 thoughts on “Baptism

  1. Yes Jesus’ words are eternal – He is the Resurrected, Living Word of God.
    And He told us which one in the Most Important Commandment. No, it’s not “love.”

    Poem – What is love?

    Two men came to Jesus
    With different motivations.
    They asked Him the same question
    Relevant to all the nations:

    Which is the Most Important?
    The answer was the same.
    Jesus did not manipulate
    He was not there to play a game.

    “Love the Lord your God” said Jesus
    as He quoted from The Law –
    to fulfill and not abolish
    was His purpose, full of awe.

    Jesus did not make all Scripture
    Into one new great commandment.
    He summarized The Law and Prophets
    “First and Greatest” and “The Second.”

    The Love of God is higher
    Than the love of any man.
    Receive from God, give back to God-
    Then to others, that’s His plan.

    The Love of God involves much more
    Than simply “love your fellow man.”
    Worship, trust, and pray to God,
    and obey Him – that’s His plan

    To worship and pray to neighbors,
    Whoever they may be,
    Or trust and obey our enemies
    Would be idolatry.

    The love of God is first and greatest,
    And the love of man is second.
    “All we need is love” are words
    of dead Beetles on the pavement.

    “The entire law is summed up in a single command”
    are not the words of Jesus our Salvation.
    It’s false teaching of Paul the Pharisee
    an “accuser of our brethren.”

    “Love” without God is Satan’s word through Paul
    in his chapter to the Corinthians.
    “I will show you the most excellent way”
    is the road to eternal perdition.

    Where is God in Paul’s chapter on love?
    Nowhere in view of the eye.
    Paul sings about himself like a Mexican Mariachi
    “I, I, I, I.”

    Jesus is The Most Excellent Way
    Not the words of a Pharisee.
    The words of Jesus are very clear.
    Jesus said, “You must follow ME.”

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    • I appreciate the time it took for you to write that poem, but I must disagree with the sentiment. The word used by Paul in the scripture you’re maligning (1 Cor: 13), is “agape”. This word is first translated as “charity” in the King James, before it was translated as love in subsequent translations of the Bible. The definition of agape is this: Agape (Ancient Greek: ἀγάπη, agápē) is “love: the highest form of love, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God.”[1] Not to be confused with “philēo” – brotherly love – agápē embraces a universal, unconditional love that transcends, that serves regardless of circumstances. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agape).
      As you can see, Paul is not talking about love for our brothers and sisters, but love of God. That puts to rest the whole argument you make in your poem, and renders the time you spent on it wasted. Please continue to contribute, but I beg you to do a modicum of research first. I recommend blueletterbible.org (also has an app), which has interlinear translations of both the Hebrew and the Greek of Bible passages.

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      • Octavian,
        You said QUOTE: “As you can see, Paul is not talking about love for our brothers and sisters, but love of God.”

        No, I don’t see that in the text of 1 Corinthians 13.
        I see that Paul referred to himself about 19 times. But Paul never mentioned anything about God, Father Son or Spirit, in any way shape or form. If I missed something, please quote the verse.
        Here is a parable that makes the same point as the poem.

        Parable of the House Painters

        A homeowner called his friend, who was a painting contractor. “Friend, I want to hire you and your team to paint my house and my garage. Paint the house first, and I’ll stay in the garage until you’re done. Then when the paint is dry, I’ll move back into the house, and you can paint the garage.”

        The painting contractor hired a new foreman named Paul, and gave him the homeowner’s instructions. (Paul insisted that all the workers show respect for him by addressing him as “Boss Paul.”) Paul called the team of painters together and told them:
        “Boys, we need to paint this garage and house. The quicker we do it, the more profitable it is for us. So get to work! Since the garage is smaller, we can finish that quicker. Then those who finished the garage can go help the others finish the house.”

        One worker objected: “But Boss Paul, those were not the owner’s instructions! We are supposed to paint the house first. Only after the house is finished and the paint is dry can we go and paint the garage.”

        Paul replied: “I’m Boss, you work for me, and you do as I say. We are painters, and we paint. We don’t have time for debates about ‘which one is first’. We need to get to work applying that paint to the garage and house as quick as we can. Which owner would be upset if we finished early? The job is to paint the garage and house – what difference does it make ‘which one is first’”?

        “It makes a big difference to the owner,” the worker objected. To which Paul replied, “you’re fired.” Paul then took his team of painters, and started painting the garage and the house.

        When the homeowner returned in the evening, he was furious. He had nowhere to sleep, and had to go stay in a hotel for several days. The homeowner’s friend, the painting contractor, apologized, and explained:

        “I hired a new foreman named Paul, but that was a huge mistake. He ignored your instructions that I passed on to him. You don’t know him, and I’ve just barely met him.
        To be extremely polite, I could say that Paul ‘says some things which are difficult to understand.’ To be more direct, I could say Paul talks like an arrogant megalomaniac with a messiah complex, proclaiming; ‘I am not under the law’ but yet making up his own laws as he goes along, that everyone else has to obey. Paul said: ‘I became your father…. therefore I urge you to imitate me,’ and ‘I have become all things to all men.’ Paul thinks he’s Boss, and doesn’t need to listen to your instructions that I gave him.”

        In Matthew 22 and Mark 12, Jesus identified two commandments, saying one of them is the first and greatest most important one. Which one is it? The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ?

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      • I don’t think it’s productive for me to argue this point further. It seems you have a problem with the Word of God. The only thing I can do is point you to Him for understanding. I find that prayer is extremely helpful when reading the Bible and trying to understand what the specific writer is talking about. God often reveals His truth in this manner to those who honestly seek understanding.
        Remember this from Isaiah 8: 19-20
        “[…]should not a people seek unto their God?[…]To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

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      • Yes Octavian,
        To the Law and to the Testimony –
        The Law of Moses, and the Prophets in our Old Testament. Not to Paul’s letters. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, not to abolish them.

        Paul didn’t speak according to that word, and so Paul has no light of dawn. Paul said that Jesus abolished the Law – wrong.

        Many self-professed “Bible-believing Evangelicals” won’t listen to the words of Jesus, because they are brainwashed through reciting their “mantra” – “all scripture is God-breathed.”

        This “Evangelical Mantra” has been accepted by the collective subconscious mind of “The Evangelical Church” without thought, question, reflection, or even 2 witnesses from the Scripture itself. It’s based on a misinterpretation, out of context, of one verse in one letter written by one man, Paul the Pharisee, who was unfamiliar with the personal ministry and teaching of Jesus.

        But, “Once an idea has been accepted by your subconscious, it remains there and it governs your behavior until it is replaced or changed.” [ as a pastor named Bishop Dale C. Bronner observed in one of his sermons]

        (Definition from the American Heritage Dictionary.) Mantra (noun) (Hinduism.) A sacred formula believed to embody the divinity invoked and to possess magical power, used in prayer and incantation.

        When cult members repeat their mantra, it makes them deaf to the voice of God, unable to hear God. Instead, it puts their focus on their one “special man” above all others – his personality, words and teachings, character, life example, feelings, experience, intentions, mind, will, emotions, etc. Their cult leader is their hero – he is always right, could never be wrong about anything specific, and he must be obeyed in all things and never questioned. He will give himself a special title, write at least one special book, and claim special authority, with no need for a second witness to back him up.
        Here are 3 examples.

        .1) Fuhrer. The title of Adolf Hitler as the leader of the German Nazis, author of “Mein Kamph”. Mantra: “Heil Hitler.”

        .2) The self-appointed Prophet Muhammad, author of The Koran. Mantra: …..”and Muhammad is his prophet.”

        .3) Paul the Pharisee, the self-appointed Apostle to the Gentiles, whose 13 letters comprise one third of what, today, we call the “New Testament.” (The first, original “New Testament” was composed by the second century heretic Marcion, and he coined the term “New Testament.” His new “book” contained nothing except 10 of Paul’s letters and an abbreviated Gospel of Luke. There were no other “New Testament” books, and the Hebrew Scriptures were the “Old Testament” which was irrelevant, according to the heretic Marcion.) Mantra: “All Scripture is God-breathed….”

        I got my Masters Degree at Dallas Theological Seminary. I was attracted to the school because they put Paul’s mantra of “All Scripture is God-breathed” above everything else, and I wanted to heed Paul’s command and “Preach the Word” like Paul….

        This mantra is a misinterpretation out of context of 2 Timothy 3:16. It ignores the previous verse, 2 Timothy 3:15, which clearly indicates that Paul was NOT referring to his own letters when he wrote the words “All Scripture.”

        Paul was probably making reference to some of the Hebrew Scriptures, quite likely including the Law and the Prophets. We cannot be completely certain exactly which “Scriptures” Paul meant in “All Scripture”, and what Paul meant by “God-breathed.” Why can’t we be certain?

        Because we must establish a matter by the testimony of two or three witnesses, especially something as important as “What is the Word of God.” No one else in the pages of the Bible besides Paul ever said anything like “All Scripture is God-breathed”. And Paul only said it here, one time, in the middle of a personal letter.

        The Apostle Peter made reference to “Prophecy of Scripture,” not “All Scripture,” and no it’s not the same thing at all. Jesus never said anything like that. And no one, not even Paul, ever said that all Scripture was equal.

        I remember the general approach to the Bible at Dallas being that “every word in the 66 Books is the Word of God”….. and we should interpret it based on “the intended meaning of the author in the historical grammatical context.”

        That is the basic idea of the heavy-duty seminary language we were being trained in. It sounds so right, so intelligent, so professional, so “godly”….. but it is fundamentally flawed.

        When we look at Paul’s teachings and testimony about himself, (in his letters that make up 1/3 of the New Testament,) we should NOT immediately ask ourselves; “what did Paul say, what did Paul mean, and how does this apply to my life?” The fundamental question is NOT “what was in the mind of Paul?”

        Before any of that, the FIRST question to ask is; “does Paul agree with Jesus, who came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets?”

        Paul contradicted himself, and his teachings and testimony about himself don’t harmonize with the teachings of Jesus (or with Luke’s record of his life.) Let’s not waste our time with endless debates about “what Paul really meant” with his wacky teachings about “baptizing the dead” or “there is neither male nor female.” Paul was wrong. Jesus reminds us from The Law “at the beginning, the Creator made them male and female.” [Matthew 19:4, Genesis 1:27]

        As to the question of “whether the Bible is ALL truly Gods WORDS”…

        The underlying unspoken assumption is that “The Bible” (66 Books) was given to us by God as “one book” and it’s all “equal” in level of authority, priority, and importance. This comes from unconsciously believing Paul’s mantra, the “Evangelical Mantra”, that “All Scripture is God-breathed”, and falsely assuming Paul was referring to every word in the 66 Books of the Bible. Yet even here, not even Paul, not even once, ever said that “All Scripture is EQUAL” in authority, priority, and importance.

        No one in the pages of the Bible ever said or wrote that “all Scripture,” or “the Bible,” is “all truly God’s words”. Jesus never said anything like that, and Jesus did not see it that way. Jesus did not see even the Hebrew Scriptures, what we call the “Old Testament”, as a whole unit or book that was all equal or “all truly God’s words.” Jesus spoke of The Law, or The Law and the Prophets, holding these 2 sections of the Old Testament above the third, least important sections the “Writings.” And Jesus held the Psalms, the first book of the “Writings” section, above the other books in the “Writings” section in importance, since some parts of some Psalms are prophetic.

        Obviously, the New Testament Scriptures were not written when Jesus was walking the earth. But if we want to get closest to The Source, Jesus himself, it makes sense that we should look first to the eyewitness testimony of two of His appointed Apostles who walked with Him faithfully for over 3 years, Matthew & John. (Also to other eyewitness testimony, recorded by Mark and Luke.) This is more accurate, important, and authoritative than personal letters written by Paul the Pharisee, who never knew Jesus personally, had no part in His ministry, and had no eyewitness testimony.

        We should follow the Jesus of the Gospel writers. We should not follow the “jesus” of Paul the Pharisee or Muhammad or any other man, who had their own ideas of who “jesus” was and what He did.

        Like

      • Look, you seem to have a knack at writing novels. I’m sure your talents could be better served by writing a book on the subject.
        At this time, my premise before starting any argument about scripture is that all scripture is inspired by God.
        Your premise is different, and therefore we may never come to an understanding on the subject.

        Like

      • Octavian, you said QUOTE: “At this time, my premise before starting any argument about scripture is that all scripture is inspired by God.”
        OK – can you please back up your premise with specific Scripture, chapter and verse?

        How about we start with 2 Timothy 3:15, yes FIFTEEN, the verse before your favorite 3:16.
        Is it possible that Paul was referring to the letter he was in process of writing, or to “The Bible” as the “Scriptures” that Timothy had know “from infancy”, in Paul’s words – or this that impossible?

        Like

      • John 17
        13And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

        Psalm 119:105
        Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

        Isaiah 40:8
        The grass withers and the flowers fall,
        but the word of our God endures forever.

        Psalm 18:30
        As for God, his way is perfect:
        The Lord’s word is flawless;
        he shields all who take refuge in him.

        …and many many more.

        Of course, you will come back and say, “but Paul’s letters are not part of the word of God”.
        To which I say, baloney.
        I really don’t enjoy arguing about fundamentals, by the way, nor do I enjoy arguing about semantics. I cannot explain the character of God to you, but I can tell you that once you get it, everything makes sense.
        Start reading Ellen White’s writings, and the Bible will come alive.

        Like

      • “14I have given them thy word”
        In John chapter 17, Jesus is speaking to the 11 Apostles He appointed. (“them”.)
        Only 3 of them wrote Scripture – Matthew, John and Peter. (Mark appears to be the first record of the teachings of Peter and other Apostles who could not write – yet.)

        The Psalms were written about 1000 years before Jesus. Isaiah was referring to the Law of Moses and the Prophets. Nothing to do with Paul.

        Who said Paul’s words are “the word of God” besides Paul, sort of, a couple of times?

        Like

      • Those who were inspired by God to include it in the canon of scripture. If you take out Paul, what’s stopping you from taking out James? Or Matthew? Or any number of other books because they’re seemingly not up to someone’s standards?

        Like

  2. Octavian,
    Why don’t you quote some Scripture to back up your opinions?
    Your comment is full of “loaded” words, terms, and concepts based on human tradition, not on the Scripture itself.
    “canon”
    “canon of Scripture”
    “inspired by God”.
    “taking out” – as if The Bible is One Book that fell from heaven, rather than a collection of writings.

    The standards that matter most are those of Jesus, who came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, not abolish them, speaking through the writings of the Apostles He personally chose and who walked with for over 3 years.

    Which commandment is the Most Important One? The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ?

    Like

    • I don’t quote scripture because you seem to have contempt of it.
      As to the commandments, they are all the greatest. Read Exodus 20.

      Here’s the crux of the matter, knowledge of this or that doctrine doesn’t save you. You are justified by faith. Knowledge is simply the conduit to reach a point where you can trust in God to keep His word. When you start chipping away at God’s word (Genesis/Paul/etc) because you don’t “like” what those books say, then you lose both your shield and your sword. You don’t have a leg to stand on if you cannot stand on the Word.

      Like

      • Octavian,
        Your opinion is QUOTE: “As to the commandments, they are all the greatest.”

        Jesus’ opinion is:
        Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” [Matthew 22:37-38, Deuteronomy 6:5]

        ““The most important one,” answered Jesus, “ is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ [Mark 12:29-30, Deuteronomy 6:4-5]

        Do you want to continue in your error? Or do you want to change your mind and agree with Jesus?

        Like

      • You’re so focused on minutiae that you can’t see the truth. Jesus himself wrote the 10 commandments on tablets of stone. Therefore, Jesus has first-hand knowledge of these commandments when talking with the scribes. They were trying to trick him, just like you’re trying to trick me. The scribes asked Him, testing Him “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?”
        You’re doing the same thing as the lawyer. You’re testing the faith of Jesus by focusing on these minutiae.

        Jesus answered them in kind, not allowing the trick to flourish: the greatest commandment is to love God. Is that an actual commandment? Did Jesus write that commandment on the tablets of stone? Of course not, that commandment doesn’t exist in reality. However, it is a condensation of the first four commandments written in stone. We love God by worshiping Him alone, not practicing idolatry, not taking His name in vain, and by remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy.

        Jesus continued by saying that the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Is this commandment written in the Law? Of course not. Did the lawyer ask Jesus about the second greatest commandment? No, he only asked what’s the greatest. Jesus, in His infinite wisdom avoided the trap, and presented the case for the decalogue. The last six commands given to Moses concerned how we should treat our neighbors.
        So yes, the greatest commandment is to love God, and the second greatest is to love our neighbors. They go together as they cannot exist in a vacuum, separate from one another.

        The funniest thing about this whole argument is that Paul wasn’t even talking about what you say he was talking about. Paul used the Greek work agape, which as I explained earlier, means the greatest love, or love of God. He did not use the word philia, which means brotherly love. So Paul literally said, in Greek, that the love of God (agape or charity in English) is the greatest, above faith and hope, agreeing with Jesus on the matter.

        But, hey, don’t let me ruin your party, you go ahead believing that Paul’s writings are not inspired. Go ahead leading other Christians away from God’s word. Go ahead peeping and muttering about this and that. The truth of God’s word always shines through to those who seek to know it. God’s Holy Spirit will guide all those whom you come upon, trying to lead into perdition.

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      • Octavian,
        you said QUOTE: “the greatest commandment is to love God. Is that an actual commandment? Did Jesus write that commandment on the tablets of stone? Of course not, that commandment doesn’t exist in reality. ”

        Do you own a Bible? It does exist – Deuteronomy 6:4-5. Jesus was quoting it. Please see for yourself. Also, the man who came to Jesus in Mark 12 had a GOOD attitude, unlike the man in Matthew 22.
        Please check for yourself that I am telling you the truth.

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  3. The 10 commandments are found in both Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. What about it? I believe the Jews count a total of 613 commandments in the Torah – I didn’t count them.
    Have you read Deuteronomy 6:4-5?

    Like

    • You miss the point. I presented to you evidence that Jesus condensed the 10 commandments into two. Then I presented evidence, beyond a shadow of a doubt that Paul was in agreement with Jesus. Yet you persist in this matter as the scribes and Pharisees persisted in testing our saviour.

      Like

      • No, YOU miss the point. It seems you were not listening- it’s in the first part of the poem.

        Which is the Most Important?
        The answer was the same.
        Jesus did not manipulate
        He was not there to play a game.

        “Love the Lord your God” said Jesus
        as He quoted from The Law –
        to fulfill and not abolish
        was His purpose, full of awe.

        Jesus did not make all Scripture
        Into one new great commandment.
        He summarized The Law and Prophets
        “First and Greatest” and “The Second.”

        The Love of God is higher
        Than the love of any man.
        Receive from God, give back to God-
        Then to others, that’s His plan.

        The Love of God involves much more
        Than simply “love your fellow man.”
        Worship, trust, and pray to God,
        and obey Him – that’s His plan

        Like

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