May
01

2017

Our One Baptism Essential To Eternal Covenant With Jesus

8.4.15

Two part video:

http://www.vermontcam.org/show/our-one-baptism-essential-eternal-covenant-jesus-part-1

http://www.vermontcam.org/show/our-one-baptism-essential-eternal-covenant-jesus-part-2

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.." Mark16,16

"'But you are to seek the place the Lord your God will choose from all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling [Temple]."  Deuteronomy12,5

28 "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;  and your sons and daughters shall prophesy..." 32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call."Joel2,28 and 32.

"And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."  Acts2,21

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, who you have received from God? 1Corinthians6,19

"I pray that the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood that sealed an eternal covenant,..." Hebrews 13,20.

"For as many of you as were baptized have put on Christ."  Galatians3,27

"No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again of the water and the Spirit."John 3,5

Do We Have The Faith Of Jesus, Peter, Paul, And The 3,000 Added That Day?

We have conversed about water baptism in this space and on The Preaching Hour under several biblical titles: "Your Baptism (Su Bautizo;" "Custom And Infant Baptism;"  "Deep Calls On Deep In Jesus Name Baptism;" "Water Baptism: The Gospel Door To Gospel Fullness;" and "Who Is Afraid Of A Little Sound Doctrine: Adult Baptism For Everyone" Preaching Hours NN. 210-11.

We have taught that water baptism is not merely an outward or symbolic gesture, but an important act of personal faith, one that Jesus also made when he chose to baptized by John for our example. Matthew3,13-17. His baptism was a real faith event that clearly and supernaturally identified Him as God's son. This same baptism was one that Jesus Himself required of his followers, as did his followers (John3,22-26, v. 26 "everyone was going to him [Jesus] for baptism").

Adult water baptism represents many important biblical realities. For John the Baptist water baptism represented repentance and a desire to be a part of God's final era kingdom team (David Norris, PHD "I am - A Oneness Pentecostal Theology" WAP Academic, 2009, 190-91).

For John, before Jesus rose, it represented God's way and His way of making a clear path for the messiah to inaugerate the kingdom (Isaiah40,3 fulfilled in John1,23): "Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand." Matthew3,2

In John's own words, water baptism was also preparation for "the one who will baptize you in the Holy Spirit" Mark1,7.

We don't know if water baptism before he died represented to Jesus, and his followers, more than it did for John. But there is no biblical basis to think it represented any less in that the risen Jesus made it an ordinance just prior to his ascension, Matthew28,19. 

Again, at a very minimum Jews were confronted by the prophets John and Jesus telling them there was a new thing that they had to do beyond circumcision, beyond the law. The prophet and risen Lord repeated this same announcement after he rose, right before he ascended.

That thing was adult water baptism.

And we also know that the Qumran separtists (who likely left the Jerusalem Temple over the corruption of the hign priesthood, 2 Maccabees4,23ff, mid second century BC), living in the very same Judah at the same time as Jesus and John had formed a community (likely an Essene headquarters) on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, also practiced ritual immersions as part of their intitiation and inscription in the community:

"He shall not be justified by that which his stubborn heart declares lawful, for seeking the ways of light he looks towards darkness. He shall not be reckoned among the perfect; he shall neither be purified by atonement, nor cleansed by purifyling waters, nor sanctified by seas and rivers, nor washed clean with any ablution." (The Community Rule, 1QS, Col. III,3-6 from "The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls In English, Geza Vermes Translator, Penquin 1997, 100)

Community Rule 1QS V,13: "They shall not enter the water to partake of the pure Meal of the men of holiness, for they shall not be cleansed unless they turn from their wickedness." (Ibid, p.104)

Community Rule 1QS VI,22 "He shall not touch the Drink of the Congregation until he has completed a second year among the men of the Community. But when the second year has passed, he shall be examined, and if it be his destiny, according to the judgment of the Congregation, to enter the Community, then he shall be inscribed among his brethren in the order of his rank for the Law, and for justice, and for the pure Meal;..." (Ibid, 106-7)

So a Qumran postulant at the very least had to fully repent, demonstrate his devotion to the Law in two years, and enter into the water before partaking of the pure Meal. (Scholars point to an elaborate Qumran water System bringing water from the Wadi Qumran into the walled settlement that included immersion baths, miqva'ot ("The Complete World Of The Dead Sea Scrolls" Phillip R. Davies, George J. Brooke and Phillip R. Callaway,'The Qumran Water System' Thames and Hudson, 2002, p. 100).

This sect was in effect saying something very similar to what the prophets Jesus and John were saying by water baptism, ie something more than circumcision and the Temple sacrifices were now necessary for a covenant with God, an interior purification that the Qumran sepratists ascribed to the true counsel of the covenanted community, and their mediated saving counsel including that of washings and of course a total committment to the law:

"For it is through the spirit of true counsel [only in this Community] concerning the ways of man that all his sins shall be expiated, that he may contemplate the light of life. He shall be cleansed from all his sins by the spirit of holiness uniting him to his truth, and his iniquity shall be expiated by the spirit of uprightness and humility [that the Community bears]. And when his flesh is sprinkled with purifying water and sanctified by cleansing water, it shall be made clean by the humble submission of his soul to all the precepts of God. Let him then order his steps {to walk} (4Q255) perfectly in all the ways commanded by God concerning the times appointed for him, straying neither to the right nor to the left and transgressing none of his words, and he shall be accepted by virtue of a pleasing atonement before God and it shall be to him a Covenant  of the everlasting Community." Community Rule 1QS  III,6-12 (101).

Or, as Jesus put it "unless your righteousness surpsasses that of the scribes and pharisees [who had the law and the cult] you will in no wise inherit the Kingdom." (Matthew5,20)

David Norris (pp. 190 and 142-143) further points out that these separtists defined their covenant community in terms of those "called by his Name" just as Peter prophesies on the day of Pentecost, applying Joel 2,28 and 32 to Acts 2,21 to the Jesus name baptism of Acts2,36-38 on the day of Pentecost. 

Damascus Document II, 13 (not 53?): Cook translates: 

"He [Yahweh] has arranged that there should be for Himself people called by name, so there would always be survivors on the earth, replenishing the  surface of the earth with their descendants. He taught them through those anointed by the holy spirit, the seers of truth, He explicitly called them by name. But whoever He had rejected He caused to stray." Norris N.3 p. 300, C.16 The Place of Baptism In Covenant Initiation.

My here point is simple and singular- a changed or fulfilled covenant, among Jewish separtists at Qumran or followers of Jessus required additional initiation step that included immersion, a new revelation of God's Name. Immersion and a new covenant were clear changes in the air.

We Christians learn by faith and the word that our change of covenant and loyalty included calling on the Name of Jesus in baptism Acts 2,21-Acts2,38. We also thuswise learn that baptism in His name is part of our new personal covenant, not made with infants as at the physical circumcision of the prior covenant, but by an adult with a pesonal and repentant faith, at water baptism, in the Name of Jesus.

So water baptism signifies a new requirement to be in a new covenent with God, for both Jew and gentile (Mark16,16).  

Point In Time To Change Cosmic Teams

Water baptism also is the most likely point in time when we actually supernaturally die to ourselves and sin, and in faith change cosmic teams from the unwashed world, the devil and the flesh, to Jesus' cosmic team Colossians2,13-15

"You have been buried with him by your baptism; by which, too, you have been raised up with him through your belief in the power of God who raised him from the dead. 13 You were dead, because you were sinners and uncircumcised in body: he has brought you to life with him, he has forgiven us every one of our sins. 14 He has wiped out the record of our debt to the Law, which stood against us; he has destroyed it by nailing it to the cross; 15 and he has stripped the soverignties and the ruling forces, and paraded them in public, behind him in his triumphal procession."

In this teaching and our prior baptismal teachings Acts 2,36-38 is our principal text. Here the bible student finds the prophetic demand of Pentecost, when Jews in Jerusalem, having seen and heard the fulfullment of Joel 2,28-32 (the Spirit 'poured out on all flesh'), and heard Peter prophesy that this outpouring was one of deliverance by their one and only messiah (Acts2,17-36ff), they ask Peter what they must do to get this same salvation:

38 "Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off- for all whom the Lord our God will call." Acts2,38

So, all who Jesus calls, and will call to salvation, Jew and gentile, answer by calling upon his name in baptism. Or, as Acts2,21 puts it "And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Likewise, James2,7, talking about unbaptized rich folks trying to Lord it over the faithful who are already baptized, says:  "Are they not the ones who drag you into court, who insult the honorable name which has been pronounced ["invoked over" NRSV] over you." James 2,7 

Water Baptism And Our Personal Covenant And Communion With Jesus

Today, we are broadening the scope of our study of adult water baptism by addressing it from the primordial bible theme of covenant. The Hebrew word berith means to cut a covenant (Dufour, 93), literally to cut something living, with blood in it, in two. For some reason God wanted communion with us human beings, seeking it  through many covenants made on his terms, which usually include blood.

The blood is where the life from God is (Leviticus17,11 "The Power of The Blood" H.A. Maxwell Whyte, Whitaker, 1973, p.11ff) . Only God makes blood: "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul."

And "Without shedding of blood there is no remission." (Hebrews9,22, (Whyte, 20)

So when God sees the blood of any living thing, He pays attention. He's the author or giver of it. He put the life blood in all living things and it's his best ink. It's his favorite way of making a covenant.

So when Cain spilled Abel's blood, God witnessed that murder, that Godly life blood unjustly snuffed out!

Likewise at Calvary, God witnesses to Jesus' blood and the life and death obligations of every party to the covenant made with that blood.

This deal, at the very least, based on a simple reading of the whole New Testament scriptures more than mere belief (the devils believe in one God too, James2,19). It includes repentance, professed faith, water baptism, gospel service, witness unto the end, celebrating the Lord's Supper, and baptism in the Holy Ghost.

At Calvary Jesus shed his blood to enact a new covenant between God and humanity (and also particularly Israel, which will look upon him again according the Zechariah12,10). He was cut in two so to speak. Through this blood of this eternal covenant, and because he rose from the dead, Hebrews13,20 declares Him "the great Shepherd of the sheep."

He is the one Great Shepherd because of His merciful and faithful choice to enter into covenant with us in such a selfless way. His shed blood appeased God's wrath on our sin, washed us of them, and brought us into a life of salvation and communion with Himself. This communion is expressed by the moral and Spiritual washing (done by God) of adult baptism and the personal nature of our covenant with Jesus (my sins are forgiven, my soul is made worthy (cf Xavier Leon Dufour, "Dictionary of Biblical Theology" 2nd edition, Pauline Press, 1973, 93 for the breakthrough idea of communion being expressed by covenant). 

There are several short biblically based ways to describe this salvational communion and covenant: He leads and we follow; He speaks and we hear and obey; He lives, so we 'live and move and have our being' in Him. But our communion through covenant goes deeper than these descriptions.

We Christians speak of a 'personal relationship' with Jesus, or what the bible calls "fellowship", ie communion, or Greek koinonia. The word says 'our fellowship is with the Father, and the Son" (1John1,3) and with the Holy Spirit (2Corinthians13,14). This is an actual Spiritual-faith experience, as is our communion with the risen Jesus at the table, 1Corinthians10,16: "the blessing cup which we bless is it not a sharing [ie a communion, a real experience] in the blood of Christ"; and the loaf of bread which we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?"

So at baptism, and as we live by faith throughout our lives, our personal faith calls down his Spirit, and then His Spirit informs our spirit. Thereby, he communes with us. We note that this is the same heaven to earth pattern of faithful water baptism unto the communion of Holy Ghost Baptism promised per Acts 2,36-38.

Acts 2,38 promises that if we get baptized in His Name as adults we will receive the Holy Ghost. So this water baptism is part of our side of the salvation deal. It is preceded by a repentant humility that leads us to publicly saying we want to be part of Jesus' kingdom team, those who have had his name invoked over us in water baptism (James 2,7). Then by his will and according to his word, and by our personal faith, His Spirit enters us not just as an incorruptible seed of faith  per 1Peter1,23 (seeds can die, and will die if we continue to live according to our sinful nature, Romans8,13), but as a seed designed to bear the fruit of baptism in the Spirit, a preliminary communion harvest, short of the kingdom, whereby our sinful nature is replaced with a newly reborn nature.

So if we want this communion-salvation we must follow the terms of His new covenant.

Yes, people can be baptized in the Spirit without having been baptized in Jesus Name, as was the Roman soldier Cornelius (Acts10), as were perhaps some of those speaking different languages on the day of Pentecost, as happens to some modern Christians who dismiss water baptism as symbolic. But the Word teaches that if one recieves the Holy Ghost baptism first, one still doesn't neglect or diminish water baptism (Acts10,47-48).

Why because it is a vital step in making our personal covenant with Jesus. It is both a sign and seal of the new covenant, and essential to our one baptism of Ephesians4,5.

This same word of God also teaches that those who gladly received Peter's word were water baptized and "that about 3,000 that very day were added to their number."(Acts 2,41) So baptism in Jesus Name is part of entering the missionary and prophetic faith movement that defines Christianity.

If it's how one personally joins the movement of the Qahal, the called out ones, and was the initiation action item at the birth of this community, and done in his name, and an explict Apostolic requirement before His ascension, how can it not be part of the personal covenant all of us Christians claim to have with Jesus?

Jesus' New Covenant Has Two Signs And Two Seals

Jesus left us with two ordinances, two things we must do: 1. Water baptism of Matthew 28,19 and Acts 2,36-38, and The Lord's Supper, Matthew26,26-29; Mark14,22-25 and Luke 22,14-23.  

He could have left us thousands of ordinances for this new covenant, but he left us only two.

So, these two, by simple logic and his word, are especially important. They also reveal something essential about our communion with God and the covenant itself.

Every covenant between God and us human beings has a sign, a visible representation of the covenant, and a seal, some way God authenticates the covenant. In the olden days all important documents were sealed with a very personal one of a kind imprint upon clay, and later wax, that assured that the document was legitimate and came from the right person (The New World Dictionary-Concordance of NAB, World, 609, 1982?).

Ephesians1,13-14 speaks of the authentfication of this new covenant: "in whom [Christ Jesus], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after ye believed, ye were sealed  with that holy Spirit of promise,14 which is the earnest of our inheritance..." see also 2Corinthians1,22

At John6,27 Jesus asserts boldly that he has the father's seal of authenticity: "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed." 

The often forgotten sign of God's covenant with Noah was the ark, which contained God's saved people and creatures. The customary sign and seal of this covenant,  the rainbow, was only seen after the ark survived the flood of judgement. The ark (sign) first came through the flood waters and the rainbow (seal), authenticated the faith and righteousness of Noah and his boatload. 

The sign and seal of God's covenant with Abraham was circumcision, Romans 4,11, the blood of which (sign) witnessesd to his faith, and the credit of His righteousness (seal).

The sign of the Mosaic covenant was the tablets from God, then placed in the ark of the covenant. The seal was the actual presence, the Shekinah glory, in the ark, and the temple (which presence left after the idolatry of temple practices per Ezekiel 9-11).

When we get to the New Covenant the signs and the seals are a little different, for the authenticity of this new covenant is not proven in physcial signs like the ark and the sign- seal of the rainbow, or in holy boxes or temples filled with the Holy Ghost, but by the seal of the personal faith of the individual seeking covenant with Jesus. Our new covenant requires more than the faith to build an ark, it requires personal faith unto accepting and faithfully receiving the sign of water baptism, and the seal of Holy Ghost baptism. That is, Jesus' blood must not just wash us clean by faith personal faith on the outside, but actually Spiritually redeem us, by giving us a circumcized heart, a heart baptized in the Spirit, Romans2,29.

Just as there were multiple signs and seals in the Hebrew Scriptures there are two signs in the new covenant scriptures. The first is Jesus' bloody death on the cross and rising for us, visibly shedding his blood and then visibly rising wounds still showing: "When I am lifted up [both at crucifiction and resurrection] I will draw all people to myself." John12,32.

Jesus "lifted up" is the sign of the new covenant.

The seal for this sign doesn't come until we appropriate by faith the merits of his slain-risen body and blood at the Lord's table. "Do this in memory of me" ie ratify the covenant at this new covenant meal. In other words, the authenticity seal doesn't come until we appropriate or ratify the covenant at this meal: As Jesus prophesied, "Unless you eat my [risen] body and drink my [risen] blood you have no life in you." (John6,53)

Adult baptism, full immersion in water, is another visible sign of the covenant. The word at Colossians 2,11-12 parallels water baptism to the sign of circumcision that informed the Hebrew covenants. But it's not an exact parallel. The sign of Christian water baptism, unlike Jewish baby circumcision, is effectuated by Jesus only according to the terms of a personal, and knowing, and repentant faith covenant with Jesus.

Holy Ghost baptism is the seal, the authentification of the new covenant. The visible sign of water baptism builds upon the incorruptible seed of actual faith in Jesus, by delivering us from evil, by further identifying us as his, further claiming us as His, unto sealing us with this "one baptism" of Ephesians4,5.

But the complete seal of authentification of this one baptism is not complete until both water and Holy Ghost baptism are received.   

Steps Of Covenant Making As Applied To Adult Water Baptism

I bring up these two ordinances as essential to the new covenant here as an invitation for readers to decide these matters for themselves. Don't take my word for it- take the word of God!  To do this, some may have to step away from either Roman dogmatisms or "Luther alone", and the well oiled denominational business practices that thrive on either infant baptism on the one hand  or 'no water and Spirit baptism needed."

Consider, if you will, the odd fact that these two covenantal ordinances, both personally commanded by Jesus, have largely been either excised out of the biblical new covenant by infant baptism and total clerical appropriation under the Romanist hierarchical swath, or dismissed outright, or minimized beyond biblical recognition, by neglectful Protestantism.

The only way to allow people to freely decide for themselves about water baptism's place in the new covenant is to do what we are doing here, plumbing the depths of relevant scriptures and now examining generally accepted ancient covenantal steps to what we already know about adult biblical baptism in Jesus' name, such as it was the exclusive practice of the early church well into the third century (Norris, p. 192 citing McGiffert, Early Christians, 76, citing Epistles of Cyprian 73:4,16;74:5).

Eight Common Steps Of Covenant Making 

(from The Ken Kessler: "Steps Of  Ancient Covenant Making"  from book "Understanding Your Inheritance In Christ" Lifeschool International 2009, c.3-5 as adapted in PDF form, Lifeshool International Church Transformation Project, CTP, www.ctp.org).

I'm going to list the eight steps and then comment on the most relevant ones, noting here as Br. Kessler himself points out, that not every covenant necessarily included all these steps:

1. The Pre Ceremony Actions;

2. The Selection of Covenant  Representatives and the Cutting of the Covenant Sacrifice;

3. The Exchange of Robes, belts, weapons;

4. The Walk Unto Death;

5. The Pronouncement of Blessings And Curses;

6. The Seal of the Covenant Mark

7. The Exchange of Names;

8. The Covenant Meal.

Of these eight steps, Numbers 2, 4, 6 and 7 especially serve to advance our claim that adult water baptism is an essential step to the new covenant, so I'll concentrate on them. I'll conclude our study with n. 4 "The Walk of Death" as a challenge to perseverance that is part of our personal faith covenant.

I'm glad to talk about these steps and our actual communion with Jesus and His new covenant making sacrifice of Calvary. Glad because only in such free and unfettered biblical discussions, outside the business of religion and its efficient marketing of doctrines and experiences by denominations, will we be able to decide for ourselves what scripture actually tells us to do as part of our initiation into covenant with Jesus.  

And while all of us are for "happy" churches, and well-staffed youth programs, and all manner upbeat Christianity, amidst all such modern comfortability and fanfare, it serves to remember once in awhile that we Christians are called to sometimes speak and teach about matters of life and death.

2. The Selection Of Covenant Representatives

We know that Jesus chose us by his grace, not that we deserve a salvation covenant with him, but that he chose us. His choice includes His call, His equipping, His defending and guiding (Ephesians1). This is how we come to our personal covenant with Jesus, by the blood of the lamb and by His graceful call of our name. These are our only merits before him, and before we profess faith: his blood and his merciful call.

He chose us, and we approach Him and his covenant demands by whatever measure of faith we have, and by the mercy of his blood.

After he calls each of us by Name John10,3, he expects us to call on his name in faith, and get baptized in His name. That's Acts2,21-2,36-38; cf James2,7

His selection of us for covenant, his ability to uphold his side of it has merit, actual merit, not because he is the best hunter or warrior or spy, or even the richest man in the clan. It's because he was sinless man, and both the best and fairest man, and God too, and therefore, he is fully capable of backing up all his covenantal promises.

I want to go to John 10 picking up at verse 1 and talk about this prophetic parable, of Jesus as the "gate" to the sheep pen at night, and shepherd during the day, leading them out to pasture. The Lord is leading me to talk about this parable in terms of water baptism and its intitial place in our personal covenant with Jesus:

"I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and his sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by Name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice."

So far we have Jesus here as the new shepherd of the pen of Israel. Most of the leaders of Israel at the time of Jesus refuse Him as shepherd and the gate of salvation. He calls them all by name, only God knows the name of all his sheep.  

The parable continues at verse 7:

'I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers [corrupt high priesthood, Isaiah55], but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief [high priesthood charging exhorbitant fees to change foreign money to the Shekel for temple sacrifices, 16%] comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand [Temple Priesthood, serving for money] is not the shepherd who owns the sheep [Jesus does]. So when he sees the wolf [Roman empire, took over Judah in 63BC and then governed through Herodian clients] coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. The wolf [Rome also sacking the Temple in 70 AD] attacks the [Jewish] flock and scatters it. 13 The hired man [high priesthood that ok'd his death] runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep [for Israel, his brother and sister Israelites].

Then at verse 14 Jesus expands the demographics of the new covenant, to gentiles.  Verse 15-16 remind us that he laid down his life for gentiles too, for non Jews, folks outside the Jewish sheep pen, folks who if they have the same faith as their Jewish brethren will be one flock with one shepherd with them. 

The two will be one flock because of what?

Because of the one precious blood (1Peter1,19) that also calls them into the same new covenant with Jesus, so we are all "one new man" (Ephesians2,15).

And one flock and one new man also because we all have the name of God called over us at baptism. "All who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek..." (Galatians3,27).  

I'm going to go into the power and presence associated with the name of Jesus shortly, but this parable reminds us to that Jesus calls us to a gate, to himself, by our own given name. That brings us face to face so to speak with the risen Jesus, in the Spirit realm, face to face with His name so to speak. He is face to face he asking us to join his team, to represent Him, to follow him. And then He expects us to call upon the power and presence and everliving witness of his Name, and go through the gate, through Him, through baptism, into his death, and into the fold. This is a vital and faithful step towards his communion and his covenant that claims and identifies us as one of his.

He chose you and me for this water baptism. He called you by name to come to Him, to the gate, through the gate of baptism, through his Name, and in His Name.

Why would we try to get into his flock without personally going through the initial covenant gate of adult baptism?

6. The Seal of the Covenant Mark    

In ancient covenants there were two aspects of sealing the agreement with a mark, a scar in fact (Kessler,29-30). First, the two participants would cut themselves after the blood sacrifice and then drip their own blood into a shared cup of wine. They would drink the bloody wine signifying their unity and their deal. Secondly, they would rub a dark substance into the cut fresh so a scar would form as a public reminder that they were covenant partners.

In our deal with Jesus, He is the only one that bears such physical scars (Revelation 5,6, fulfilling Zechariah 12,10 Jews will look upon one they pierced, and 13,6, regarding the wounds still visible that 'he got in the house of his friends,' that will be seen when he comes in his cleansing judgement of Jerusalem).

As Kessler explains the only scar or mark we bear is a circumcized heart (Romans2,28-29).

A circumcized heart is one baptized in the Spirit, one sealed with the mark of salvation, as opposed to the mysterious mark of the beast (Revelation13,16).

A circumsized heart is a heart that has been both water baptized (pointing back to entance covenant of circumcision and forward to Baptism in Spirit), and Holy Ghost Spirit baptized (Acts2,36-38). A circumsized heart is one that has been marked by an inner or invisible mark, a mark left by the supernatural effect of a faithful water baptism unto Holy Ghost Baptism.

Praise Jesus, I couldn't dream it up or make it up.

A circumcized heart is a heart that is fully "marked" by the risen Jesus, residing in a soul that finds it harder to go off track than to stay on track (Gene Scott) when it comes to obeying God's will and word.

7. The Exchange of Names

God changed Abram's ("High Father") name to Abraham ("father of many", like God). And Jacob's to "Israel" (he who contends, stuggles). And Sarai ("princess") to Sarah ("mother of nations") "The making of a Blood Covenant, Leroy Davis. www.joshua-club.com/club/pdf/specialje/blood-coveant.pdf) And Oshea's to Jehoshua (Numbers13,16). As we can see from just this short list of changed names, these name changes often add the letter "h" or the hard heth sound as representaive of the name and sound of "Yahweh." Ellicott's Comementary, Genesis17,15. Biblehub.com 

The Geneva Study Bible at Genesis17,15 describes Abraham's change of name as a seal or confirmation of the promise that he will be the father of many nations. At Genesis 15,7 he gives Abraham as much of his name as is necessary to make the covenant: "I am the Lord that brought you out of the Chaldeess, to give you this land." 

This exchange of names is important in all types of human relationships, friendships, courtships and in business, even more so when it comes to making a personal coveant with Jesus. Knowing anyone's name opens the door to any all possible future relationships that follow. We remember perhaps the angel of God, appearing as a "man", likely the Lord Himself, wrestling with Jacob in Genesis32. This too could be seen as a personal covenant being made with Jacob. God put his hip out of joint, and proved He was stronger. All of us men need to learn this part of our covenant with God!

At verse 27 the "man" asks Jacob his name and Jacob tells him, and then the man changes his name to "Israel, because you have struggled with God and men and have overcome." Then, Jacob asks this "man" his name, and the angel won't give it! To have God's holy name is a great and awesome and holy thing, a great privilege and power. To have his name is to to bear influence and potential holiness. Perhaps Jacob wasn't holy enough to be given the name of God, and so was left only  a description 'the one that clearly proved he was stronger than me." 

So the Lord doesn't exchange His name lightly, it demmands a covenantal relationship, but Jesus did so.

Take for example the covenant God made with Moses at Exodus 3.  He appears to Moses in the burning bush in Midian, and tells Moses it's now time to go back to Egypt, after 40 years away, time to rescue God's people. Verse 4 God calls his name, and reveals his own name in verse 6. Clearly Moses wanted to know the name behind the voice from the burning bush. So God names himself in a way that Moses would understand and accept  "I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Issac, and the God of Jacob." 

At verse 13 Moses presses God for an even more specific name to give the people back in Egypt. So God reveals himself as "I am [the ever living one] hath sent me unto you."

We see from these "face to face" interactions with God, who is Spirit, coming down to earth and repeatedly exchanging His name, and renaming folks, and calling people by their name, we see how connected His name and our human names are, as to what he expects as part of the covenant deal he is making.

Remember, He called Moses' name three times! He knows each one of our names, and watch out and  listen up, He's known to use our names too.  

Just like a contract today, if we don't know the names of folks with whom we are contracting, there is no deal. Only a clearly named person in any contract is expected to fulfill it.

The insertion of the "h" sound in Abraham's name can be seen as God's way of telling Abraham that he has become a partner and that Abraham has a claim to God's help in fulfilling the covenant made.

H. Clay Trumbull puts this reality this way:

'To exchange names, therefore, is to establish some participation in one another's being. Hence, as we may suppose, came the well-nigh universal Oriental practice of inter-weaving the name with one's Deity with one's name, as a symbolic evidence of one's covenant-union with the deity. The blood covenant, or the blood union, idea is at the bottom of this."  Kessler, 30 citing The Blood Covenant, Kirkwood, MO: Impact Christian Books, Inc., 1998 pp.263-4. 

John at 6,27 Jesus names himself  'Son of man' upon which the Father has set his seal, his authentification. The "Son of Man', this best man ever, who was and is God too, rose from the dead and revealed both his Lordship and his Name to the murderous Saul in Damascus (Acts9,5f). So Saul, the most learned Pharisee, learned that the Name of God was Jesus. This same God calls us "by name" John10,3 (KJ) and thereafter expects us to call upon that one name He revealed in our own personal covenant with Him, according to adult biblical baptism in His name.

At adult baptism, requiring personal and repentant faith, is how our name gets interweaved in our blood covenant  with the cleansing power and presence of Jesus' name and Spirit. His blood still speaks at our adult water baptism not because it physically still exists, I have never been touched by his physical blood, but yes from the supernatural merits of what it purchased, the salvation and deliverance by His Spirit descending like a dove, on us, just as it did on Him, in water baptism.

His Name Defines His People, His City, His Temple And The Terms Of His Covenant

 2Chronicles7,14 also shows us how the name of God is connected to the covenant and even the very definition of God's people:  "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land." 

"My people who are called by my name"- that's a biblical definition of God's people.

God's Hebrew people were chosen to bear the name of the Lord! It is by our baptism as adults in His name that we "Christians" become the people called by his name too, with His presence actually in us too!

A people called, and defined by his name, also has a city with His presence and name in it.

So 2Chronicles6,5-6 defines Jerusalem as the city for His name, with Him really there: "Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any ruler over my people Israel 6 : but I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there;"

That is, He put his name in the Jerusalem temple.

Was Jesus' name there in Jerusalem before Pentecost? Mayby, to a degree. But Ezekiel 9-11 tells us that his Spirit left the temple in 586BC due to idolatry therein and went with the exiles to Babylon. His Name lefty with his Spirit, but his Name returned at His incarnation and again at the first "Christian" Pentecost. 

At this great feast when his Jewish people returned, Jesus also clearly chose to return to Jerusalem again, as the city for His Name, and us too as Temples for His name,  by inspiring 3,000 folks to call upon his name, to put his name in them by getting baptized in his Name.

Deuteronomy12,3 says we don't need any graven images or pagan names of God and pagan temples because verse 5 says he put his name in the Temple, where His presence or name dwells, v.11 (Norris, 140).  My friends, He puts his name in us, and makes us a temple too, a holy place for Him and His name (1Corinthians6,19).

What better way to get him in us, but by the one baptism that put his name and the Spirit or presence in us.

So stay with me here, please. God defines his Hebrew people as those called by his mysterious name, Yahweh. They had the call, but not the full presence of it in them. And God defines his eternal city Jerusalem by his name-presence, even before the incarnation of Jesus there, and defines his temple by his name-presence there, and then the Qumran folks also define themselves as those called by his name and began regular immersions.

And then in the New Testament scriptures He reveals his personal name, "Jesus"( Yeshua, Yehoshua,Yahweh saves) and says 'if you've seen me you've seen the Father', and then he dies and rises, and tells us all just before he ascends to get baptized. Then Peter accurately prophesies on the day of Pentecost that calling on His revealed name and getting baptized in it, is the way of salvation, and his word reveals that 3,000 people did just that, and history reveals that up until about 250 AD everybody that was baptized as an adult and in Jesus Name.

What besides church history, and denominational politics, and the ongoing selective abd cut-out-what-we-find-difficult reading of scriptures, would make us think that adult baptism in Jesus Name isn't part of the new covenant?

 Conclusion: Water Baptism Is An Essential Part of Covenant Unto Death

We mentioned before that the sign-seal of the rainbow in God's covenant with Noah and creation came after the ordeal of the judgment waters of the sea and finding land.

It wasn't as if the ark solved the whole problem of being lost at sea for 150 days (Genesis8,3). They still needed to find land. At forty days Noah sent out the weak flying dove (Genesis8,8 representing God's people, no eagle she) and having no new haven to land, just water, it  flew back to the ark at evening.

How Noah must have prayed and longed for land.

Would he make it through the waters?

Would they die at sea?

Would this "baptism" through the waters pay off?

The fourth step of covenant making is the walk unto death, whereby both parties walk between the split and bloody covenant. This walk witnesses to each other and their promises and to their God that each will uphold the covenant till death.

But this walk may be wearying at times. Some of us too may have wondered "Lord how long until we land upon the kingdom or heaven?

How long before we can say with Paul "I have finished the race. I have fought the good fight of faith." (2Timothy10,1-2)

I now see a connection between our personal covenant with Jesus and this step of walking out the covenant unto death, persevering, through the waters of baptism. This connection came to me upon reading a Christopher Lensch's "Baptism as a Covenant Sign" WRS Journal 14.1 (February 2007).

On page 4 Br. Lensch cites 1Corinthians10,1-2  and brings out the idea of  "Baptism as a Symbolic Ordeal:"

"Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea."

Yes they were all saved through water, but as Br. Lensch knows and the Lord inspires, they had to leave Egypt in faith. Anybody who has ever moved in a hurry knows how stressful it is to move in faith. It takes faith to walk out the obligations and promises of any covenant. Likewise Noah had to navigate the seas searching for land for 150 days, not knowing where it was.

1Peter3,20 says only eight souls had faith enough to get on the ark and were saved through the stress of the judging waters.

So the "baptism of Moses" (the Passover miracle), the separated waters that saved God's first people, were also the same waters that destroyed Pharoah's pursuing army (Exodus14,28 and 15,19). And the saving waters Noah's ordeal at sea, were tha same that judged and destroyed all living creatures outside the ark.

So, water can save and or  judge, depnds how we walk out the covenant.

We recall that Jesus' water baptism pointed particularly to a second baptism according to Luke12,49-50 (see also Mark10,38):

"I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo and how distressed I am until it is completed."

We too were baptized into Jesus' death (Romans6,3), into his cross, his second martyr's baptism so to speak. Thus, by our own adult baptism we are put on notice that picking up or own cross includes some suffering, some death to our sinful or selfish selves, and perhaps martyrdom, as it did for Peter and Paul and James, and say Christians in the Mideast and Africa today.

In sum, adult water baptism in Jesus Name is part of a robust personal covenant with Jesus. It is the biblical covenant gate to eternal life, but it doesn't mean we won't face trials unto death, unto the finish line.

But when trials come those who have been baptized as adults can take solace and joy in the fact that we chose to go the whole way in faith, and complete and honor every biblical step and milestone of the covenant.

You might be in a denomination or a little church, or a mega church, that teaches little or much about all manner of things, but nothing about what the bible says about adult water baptism in Jesus name.

So, you have have a bible and you have the Spirit, answer for yourselves, have you done what the word of God says when it comes to water baptism?

Have you made the covenantal faith committment that biblically corresponds, at least to a degree, to Jesus' committment to you on Calvary? That includes your own "death" to yourself and your sin?

It's never too late for adult water baptism, like it's never too late to publically have a marriage with God as your witness. Likewise, it's never too late to make our personal covenant  with Jesus fully right or complete or on track by the public act of water baptism.

If you'd would like to be baptized as an adult, call me or contact me, and we'll get it done, wherever you might live.

And like John the Baptist and Jesus and the baptizers of the 3,000 on the day of Pentecost, we won't be expecting you to join any name brand church or mission, just the one He founded.

Br. Tobin 

http://www.zionpentecostmission.com/three-memorable-faith-milestones.html

http://www.zionpentecostmission.com/your-baptism-(english).html

http://www.zionpentecostmission.com/your-baptism-bilingue.html

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

  

 

       

 

 

 

     

 

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THE FOUNDER

Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.

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