As we approach a season of ruthless commercialism and other ungodly events in His name culminating on the 25th December, it is obvious that we learn nothing or at best very little from the testimony written in the Old Testament.
The Old Testament was for our instruction, but we have decided that the Bible is two different books, the Old Testament for the Jews and the New Testament for Christians, the Church is somehow a completely different entity to ethnic Israel.
Christianity can indulge in Paganism made to look like a Godly practice and according to some with the full blessing of God and the Saviour.
God called Israel out of Egypt to follow His instructions for blessings or punishment, God still calls man out of the world for the same blessings and punishment, the difference being the partition between the ethnic Jew and the Gentiles had been removed and because of disobedience to His word that partition has been put back in place by the Church.
When we raise the Church to a level higher than Israel or completely remove Israel from the scene, it is little wonder that God seems so far away for many.
THE JEWISH BACKGROUND
OF CHRISTIAN BAPTISM
BY Ron Moseley, Ph. D.
The following article is provided by:
Arkansas Institute of Holy Land Studies
9700 Highway 107 Sherwood, Arkansas 72120
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or visit our site at: Arkansas Institute of Holy Land Studies
There is no question that the church is debtor to Judaism for its main structure including such items as Messiah, sc
History of the Jewish Mikveh
The term mikveh in Hebrew literally means any gathering of waters, but is specifically used in Jewish law for the waters or bath for the ritual immersion. The building of the mikveh was so important in ancient times it was said to take precedence over the construction of a synagogue. Immersion was so important that it occurred before the high Priest conducted the service on the Day of Atonement, before the regular priests participated in the Temple service, before each person entered the Temple complex, before a scribe wrote the name of God, as well as several other occasions.
The Mishnah attributes to Ezra a decree that each male should immerse himself before praying or studying. There were several Jewish groups that observed ritual immersion every day to assure readiness for the coming of the Messiah. The Church Fathers mentioned one of these groups called Hemerobaptists which means "daily bathers" in Greek. Among those used to regular immersion were the Essenes and others that the Talmud calls tovelei shaharit or "dawn bathers."
On the third day of creation we see the source of the word mikveh for the first time in Genesis 1:10 when the Lord says, "...to the gathering (mikveh) of waters, He called seas." Because of this reference in Genesis the ocean is still a legitimate mikveh.
The Mikvaot Around The Temple
The New Testament tells us that many of the early church's daily activities were centered around the Temple. Historically, we know that there were many ritual immersion baths (mikvaot) on the Temple Mount including one in the Chamber of Lepers situated in the northwest corner of the Court of Women (Mid. 2:5). Josephus tells us that even during the years of war (66-73 A.D.) the laws of ritual immersion were strictly adhered to (Jos. Wars, 4:205). The Temple itself contained immersion baths in various places for the priests to use, even in the vaults beneath the court (Commentary to Tam. 26b; Tam. 1:1). The High Priest had special immersion pools in the Temple, two of which are mentioned in the Mishnah. We are told one of these was in the Water Gate in the south of the court and another was on the roof of the Parva Chamber (Mid. 1:4; Mid. 5:3). There was an additional place for immersion on the Mount of Olives which was connected with the burning of the red heifer (Par. 3:7). A special ramp led to the mikveh on the Mount of Olives from the Temple Mount, which was built as an arched way over another arched way to avoid uncleanness from the graves in the valley below. Recent archaeological excavations have found 48 different mikvaot near the Monumental Staircase leading into the Temple Complex.
Three Basic Areas
According to Jewish law there are three basic areas where immersion in the mikveh is required.
1. Immersion is required for both men and women when converting to Judaism. There were three prerequisites for a proselyte coming into Judaism: Circumcision, baptism, and sacrifice (Maimonides, Hilkh. Iss. Biah xiii. 5). 2. Immersion is required after a woman has her monthly period (Lev. 15:28). 3. Immersion is required for pots and eating utensils manufactured by a non-Jew (Encyclopedia of Jewish Religion p-263).
Besides these, there are other times when it is customary to be immersed in the mikveh such as the occasion before Yom Kippur as a sign of purity and repentance and before the Sabbath in order to sensitize oneself to the holiness of the day.
The Six Descending Orders of Ritual Immersion
There are six descending orders of ritual baths in the Mishnah (Oral Laws of how to accomplish the written Law) and the highest order is that of a spring or flowing river. We see Jesus understanding and fulfilling this order in Matthew 3:16 as He comes to be baptized in the Jordan River "fulfilling all righteousness." This highest order was called Living Water and illustrated the forgiving of sins, therefore, we hear Jesus using this term concerning Himself (John 4:10-11).
The Water Restrictions
There were also six basic restrictions on the water used in the mikveh including such rules as:
(1) the mikveh can not contain other liquid besides water. (2) The water has to be either built into the ground or be an integral part of a building attached to the ground. (3) The mikveh can not be flowing except for a natural spring, river or ocean. (4) The water can not be manually drawn. (5) The water can not be channeled to the mikveh by anything unclean. (6) The mikveh must contain at least 40 sa'ah or approximately 200 gallons of water.
The term sa'ah is an ancient Biblical measurement equivalent to approximately five gallons. All six requirements come from the original Hebrew words found in Leviticus 11:36. Rabbi Yitzchok ben Sheshes said the amount of 40 sa'ah was derived from the idea that the largest normal human body has a volume of 20 sa'ah, therefore the amount of water needed to "nullify" this body is double this amount or 40 sa'ah.
Why Be Immersed?
To the ancient Jew, the mikveh was a process of spiritual purification and cleansing, especially in relation to the various types of Turmah or ritual defilement when the Temple was in use. Although God has not revealed all the meaning of the mikveh, it is obvious because of the amount of space given to it in sc
1. The moral or ethical laws that are necessary for man to live in harmony are known as Mishpatim and are literally translated judgments. 2. The rituals and festivals which reawaken us to important religious truths such as Sabbath, holidays, the Tefillin and the Mezuzah that remind us of God's presence are known as Edos and are literally translated witnesses. 3. The third group often has no explicit reason given for their existence except for Israel's identification as God's chosen people to the other nations (Deuteronomy 4:6). This group of laws are known as Chukim and are literally translated as decrees. Among the decrees of this group are the dietary laws as well as ritual immersion.
How Immersion Was Done
Jewish baptism has never been taken lightly, but in ancient times immersion was to be performed in the presence of witnesses (Yebam. 47b). The person being baptized made special preparations by cutting his nails, undressed completely and made a fresh profession of his faith before the designated "fathers of the baptism" (Kethub. 11a; Erub 15a). This is possibly where churches, sometime later, got the term Godfathers. The individual stood straight up with the feet spread and the hands held out in front. The candidate would totally immerse themselves by squatting in the water with a witness or baptizer doing the officiating. Note the New Testament points out the fact that Jesus came up straightway out of the water (Matthew 3:16).
The earliest drawing of Christian baptism was found on the wall of a Roman catacomb in the second century showing John standing on the bank of the Jordan helping Jesus back to shore after self immersion.
Ancient sages teach that the word mikveh has the same letters as Ko(v)Meh, the Hebrew word for "rising" or "standing tall," therefore we see the idea of being baptized "straightway."
Although it is the Jewish belief that repentance is necessary, purification from defilement is done primarily through water, while other effects of sins are covered by blood (Romans 4:7; note the "almost all things" in Hebrews 9:22). The concept of immersion in rabbinic literature is referred to as a new birth (Yeb. 22a; 48b; 97b; Mass. Ger. c.ii). Note six other important aspects of ancient Jewish immersion:
1.Immersion was accompanied by exhortations and benedictions (Maimonides Hilkh. Milah iii.4; Hilkh. Iss, Biah Xiv .6). A convert would reaffirm his acceptance of the Torah by declaring, "I will do and I will hear" which was a phrase from the oath that was originally taken by the priests not to forsake the Torah (Deuteronomy 29:9- 14). This ritual demonstrates the willingness of the convert to forsake his Gentile background and assume his Jewish identity by taking on the status of one who keeps the commandments.
According to a number of Jewish sages, mayim, which is the Hebrew word for water, shares the same root as the word "mah", meaning "what." This teaching points out that when a person immerses in water, he is nullifying the fleshly ego and is asking, "what am I?" in the same manner that Moses and Aaron did in Exodus 16:7 when they said to the Lord, "we are what?"
2. The Jewish baptism candidates were often immersed three times. The idea of total immersion comes from the sc
3. According to Jewish law the immersion had to have a required witness. Dr. William LaSor in the Biblical Archaeology Review says apparently the Biblical phrase "in the name of" was an indication of the required witness. In several New Testament references such as I Corinthians 1:13, 15; Matthew 21:25; Acts 1:22; and Acts 19:3 we see early baptism mentioned in conjunction with the name of individuals such as John and Paul. Further information on this can be found in Jewish literature concerning proselyte baptism where it indicates his baptism required attestation by witnesses in whose name he was immersed.
4. The immersion candidate was not touched by the baptizer in Jesus' day. Because Leviticus 15:16 says "He shall wash all his flesh in the water," Judaism stresses that the entire body must come in contact with the water of the mikveh. To insure the immersion was valid, no clothing or individuals could touch the candidate. Any such intervention that prevented the water from reaching a part of the body was known as Chatzitzah and rendered the immersion invalid. Although the mikveh was more spiritual than physical, often the bath had two sets of steps, one entering and another leaving so as not to defile what had been purified.
5. The baptismal water (Mikveh) in rabbinic literature was referred to as the womb of the world, and as a convert came out of the water it was considered a new birth separating him from the pagan world. As the convert came out of these waters his status was changed and he was referred to as "a little child just born" or "a child of one day" (Yeb. 22a; 48b; 97b). We see the New Testament using similar Jewish terms as "born anew," "new creation," and "born from above." According to Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum rabbinic literature uses the term "born again" to refer to at least six different occurrences. Note each of these life changing experiences: (a) When a Gentile converts to Judaism. (b) When an individual is crowned king. (c) At age 13 when a Jewish boy chooses to embrace God's covenant and be numbered with the believers. (d) When an individual gets married. (e) When an individual becomes a rabbi. (f) When an individual becomes the head of a rabbinical school.
6. Jewish law requires at least three witnesses made up of qualified leaders to be present for certain immersions (Yebam 47b). Ordinarily a member of the Sanhedrin performed the act of observing the proselytes immersion, but in case of necessity others could do it. Secret baptism, or where only the mother brought a child, was not acknowledged.
Repentance Without Baptism
One of the most important teachings in Judaism is that of repentance. According to both sc
Water and Blood Both Illustrate God's Cleansing In Judaism
Both water and blood are used constantly in the Torah and the New Testament as the two main agents to illustrate God's cleansing. The Jews believe that uncleanness is not physical, but rather a spiritual condition as related in Leviticus 11:44 where it states by wrong actions one can make the "soul unclean." Therefore, the purification through ritual immersion, as commanded in sc
(1) Water is used in cleansing in relation to the separation and the ashes of the Red Heifer (Numbers 19). (2) Water is used in cleansing in relation to the consecration to priestly ministry (Leviticus 8:6). (3) Water is used in cleansing in relation to the cleansing of the leper (Leviticus 14:1-8). (4) Water is used in cleansing in relation to the different washings of the Law (Hebrews 9:10). (5) Water is used in relation to the remission of sins (Acts 2:38); Titus 3:5; Mark 16:16; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3; I Peter 3:20-21; Ephesians 5:26; John 19:34; I John 5:6; Hebrews 9:19- 23).
A detailed study of the Jewish background of Christian baptism shows that it is vitally important, but God doesn't always tell us why. Obviously, the convert could repent and have a part in the life to come without it, but the emphasis seems to be pointing to the taking on of a new "believer" status illustrated as a "new birth" by immersion. In any covenant with the Lord the three items of God's Word, the blood, and a token are always present (Genesis 17:11). Jesus was always cautious to have three witnesses in everything He did (I John 5:7-8). In the Old Testament circumcision was considered the token of God's covenant, and in the New Testament we see the same wording concerning baptism as it is referred to as "circumcision made without hands" (Colossians 2:11-12). Whatever religious denomination, all believers should agree that immersion has its roots in the Jewish mikveh of Jesus' day, and it is of utmost importance for each
There are many different varieties of Christians according to what people post here in this group and elsewhere.
To some God demands very little, and will accept tokenism in replacement of obedience.
To others God oozes love, divorced from justice and mercy, love meaning He will tolerate anything.
Then we have the God that chose certain individuals to reveal the real truth such as the writings coming from Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists to name a few, and waited till the nineteen century to do so.
The God of the Calvinist chose those He would save before time, and the offshoot being all others are damned.
The God of the Roman Catholic Church has nominated them and them alone as the repository for all truth and in so doing makes a mockery of His written word.
The words of faith and prosperity preachers and their followers have turned God into a Spiritual Santa Claus.
The Zionist Christians have exchanged Jesus for national Israel, yet the Bible declares all unbelieving Jews to be Antichrists.
The Fundamentalists’ and others have exchanged the Gospel for Politics.
The Evangelicals have exchanged the Gospel for Calvinism renamed Reformed Theology which sounds better.
The Ecumenical movement have simply lost the plot, striving to put all the spiritually dead bodies in the one cemetery.
The Grace Changers have a New Gospel where Jesus has done all the work and to be saved we just have to believe this is true.
Those living in Sin believe they are saved and Jesus will clean them up as time passes.
The Nominal Christian believes anything that won’t impact on his/her daily life.
The Sunday Christian is just that.
The garden variety Christian suffers from loneliness discontentment battles depression and probably lives in a sexless marriage.
The casual Christian will go about their business or education and indulge in worldliness until some subject catches their attention in some group where they will come out of the mist and set everyone straight.
The Christian who places Nationalism above all else will trample all over the Sermon on the Mount and will show very little remorse or conscience when innocent women and children civilians are killed and maimed in invading countries ba
The Christian mystics and time travellers who have escorted tours of Hell and or Purgatory, audiences with God or Jesus (who dwell in unapproachable light), have their followers who even promote them without conscience.
Then we have those Baptised as infants or children believing that the ritual in itself was salvation and go through life as a false convert unless they hear the true Gospel.
Then we have those that follow the sinners prayer or anything in the same vein, and at that time are declared to saved forever no matter what sin they cling to in thought or deed.
Add to this those that hold to favourite verses, usually ripped from the context and given universal application such as Jeremiah 29:11. Without considering who is speaking, and who is being spoken to or about for no other reason than to make them feel good.
The lack of sound teaching not coming from the pulpits has spawned a number of Christians that are for the want of a better word Biblically illiterate, and or ignorant.
Too many Christians are impressed by large Church numbers and believe that these churches are obviously being borne along with Gods Holy Spirit without letting the Bible be the best guide, these Mega churches are seeker friendly and lead many astray.
The content of this video is from my experience a reason why so many steer clear of Christianity, yet the content is sheer fabrication, by people who are deceived.
Previous PostsSaved by Provision, Or Obedience to Truth?, posted December 9th, 2013
How Can God Approve of Christmas?, posted December 8th, 2013
Reasoning Together With God., posted December 7th, 2013
How he Became a Jewish Believer in Yeshua., posted December 6th, 2013
Back to our Hebrew Roots Part Two., posted December 5th, 2013
Health and Diet According to the scriptures., posted December 3rd, 2013
Jesuah said Matthew 3:15, posted December 2nd, 2013
Two Natures, posted November 28th, 2013
The Truth About John Calvin, posted November 28th, 2013
The Jews Are Elect. Election isn't Salvation., posted November 24th, 2013
The Jewish Background of Christian Baptism., posted November 22nd, 2013
I Know Christianity Has Serious Problems, posted November 21st, 2013
Faith vs Law., posted November 18th, 2013
NoPurging=No Purity=No Salvation, posted November 13th, 2013
No Repentance = No Holy Spirit., posted November 9th, 2013
Obamacare: What your not being told., posted November 4th, 2013
You Must be Born Again., posted November 3rd, 2013
Doctrines of Demons posing as Christian., posted November 1st, 2013
The Faith of Devils., posted October 30th, 2013
Americas New Social Classes., posted October 30th, 2013
The need to unscramble the egg is obvious., posted October 29th, 2013
The Sum of all Truth., posted October 26th, 2013
Who is my Neighbour., posted October 25th, 2013
The Decision to Believe Belongs to the Individual., posted October 23rd, 2013
What Must I Do., posted October 20th, 2013
For God and Country, posted October 19th, 2013
Removing the Cancer of Religion and Churchianity., posted October 17th, 2013
To Share is Better Than to Receive., posted October 15th, 2013
The Role of the Godly Woman in an Ungodly World., posted October 13th, 2013, 3 comments
The Peril of Penal Substitution., posted October 12th, 2013
The Greatest Deception being Played out in Modern Biblical Times., posted October 11th, 2013
Which Church?, posted October 9th, 2013
The Blunt Truth about the Government Shutdown., posted October 8th, 2013
Tens of Millions of Nominal Christians getting closer to the Second Death, posted October 6th, 2013, 5 comments
A Plan to Replace the Fed., posted October 6th, 2013
Into the Mouth of the Dragon, posted October 5th, 2013
Repent of What!, posted October 2nd, 2013
Coming to Christ part three, posted September 28th, 2013
Coming to Christ part two., posted September 24th, 2013
Coming to Christ, posted September 20th, 2013
The Church has a responsibility to judge it's members, not the world., posted September 19th, 2013
The Gospel of turning people away., posted September 17th, 2013
Is there anything worse than a Christian lacking humility?, posted September 15th, 2013
Godly Sorrow for Sin., posted September 14th, 2013
911- Echoes of Darkness., posted September 13th, 2013
Rabbi Weiss Rips the Ideology of Zionism., posted September 10th, 2013
Stop the War in Syria! Send this Video to Congress, posted September 8th, 2013
Substitution Abuse., posted September 7th, 2013
Deeds and Ability., posted September 5th, 2013
The Syrian War What You Are Not Being Told., posted September 4th, 2013
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