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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

The True Meaning of Jesus' Baptism


< Romans 6:1-8 >
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him."



What does baptism mean?

We call John, who baptized Jesus, John the Baptist. Then what does baptism mean? "Baptism" is in Greek. It means, "being immersed." And the most important meaning of baptism is "taking away sin and death."

The phrase "being immersed" implies death. All the sins of the world were transferred to Jesus when John the Baptist baptized Him and thus He took them all away and died on the Cross to pay the wages of all our sins. Jesus died in our place. Death means the result of sin because "the wages of sin is death"(Romans 6:23).

Baptism also means, "being washed." All our sins were washed away without leaving even a bit of sin because Jesus took all the sins of the world on His flesh through His baptism. All sins in the hearts of human beings were washed away because they were passed onto Jesus through the baptism.

Baptism has the same meaning as, "laying on of hands." "Laying on of hands," means, "pass to." The act of Jesus' receiving baptism from John the Baptist was to bear all the sins of the world. It was the eternal law of God's salvation that the priest laid his hands on the head of the sin offering to pass the sins of Israel to it on the tenth day of the seventh month.

Leviticus 16:21-22 states, "Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness." When Aaron, the high priest, laid his hands on the head of the live goat, the goat took away all the sins of Israel and was slain for the people.



"Laying hands on the head of the sin offering" in the Old Testament stands for "the baptism" in the New Testament

The meaning of baptism is "being immersed." It includes "being buried, being washed or passing to." People in the Old Testament brought goats or lambs without blemishes and laid their hands on the head of the offering to pass their sins onto it. This is similar to the act of baptism in the New Testament. The goat took away sins by "the laying on of hands" and was slain. Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, who is the representative of all humankind, to take away all the sins of the world and was crucified.

Aaron, the high priest and Israel's representative, laid his hands on the head of the goat to pass the sins of Israelites to it, slew the goat, took its blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of the burnt offering. Therefore, Luke said that John the Baptist, who was born in the family of Aaron, was the representative of all humankind, just as Aaron, the High Priest, was the representative of all Israelites.

The Bible says, "Among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist" (Matthew 11:11). John the Baptist had the right to pass the sins of the world onto Jesus through baptism once and for all as the earthly high priest according to the eternal statute of God. John the Baptist was the last High Priest. When I say that John the Baptist was the High Priest, some people say, "Where is it written that John the Baptist was the High Priest in the Bible?" Isn't it written? The man who was begotten by Zacharias was John the Baptist. Priest Zacharias of the division of Priest Abijah, a grandson of Aaron the High Priest, was clearly a descendant of the family of Aaron.

The Bible talks about the divisions of the priests, who were the descendants of Aaron, in 1 Chronicles chapter 24. In the last days of David, there were lots of priests and they needed to be arranged. So, they were arranged by lots into 24 divisions according to 24 grandsons' families of Aaron. The eighth lot fell to Abijah. Each division served the sanctuary and the house of the Lord for 15 days. And Zacharias of the division of Priest Abijah was chosen by God as an on-duty priest of his division.

Luke 1:9 states, "According to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord." It shows us that John the Baptist was born in the family of Aaron the High Priest, and the last High Priest who would represent all human beings (Matthew 11:11, 3:13-17). Only a man who was born into the family of the High Priest could become a High Priest according to the law. Only lions can bear lion cubs. John the Baptist took over the high priesthood of Aaron, his ancestor.



The Apostles of Jesus testified the baptism of Jesus

All the Apostles, especially Paul, Peter, Matthew and John testified the baptism of Jesus. Let us take a look at the testimony of the Apostle Paul written in today's main passages. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him."


Galatians 3:27 also states, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Let us see the testimony of Peter. 1 Peter 3:21 states, "There is also an antitype which now saves us-baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

The Apostle John says in 1 John 5:5-8, "Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is He who came by water and blood-Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one."


The testimony of Matthew is written in Matthew 3:13-17. "Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, 'I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?' But Jesus answered and said to him, 'Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'"

Jesus took away all the sins of the world by receiving baptism from John the Baptist. "For thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Jesus took the sins of the world onto Him by receiving baptism from John the Baptist, which was in the most proper manner. God Himself testifies it. "When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Jesus took away all our sins through His baptism, testified the gospel of the water and the Spirit for three years, was crucified to death and rose again from the dead on the third day. He is now sitting on the right hand of God.

Jesus will come again to those who wait for Him without sin. Hebrews 9:28 states, "So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation." God Himself said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," and the Holy Spirit testifies that the Man who took away all the sins of the world was Jesus, the Savior. However, people don't understand the Bible because their spiritual eyes are shut. Their spiritual eyes should be opened and they should be born again of water and the Spirit (John 3:5).

Therefore, they think that only Jesus alone ministered for the salvation of humankind. But in truth, Jesus was the Lamb of God and needed John the Baptist, who was the representative of all humankind and who could pass all the sins of the world to Him, because similarly, Aaron the High Priest laid his hands on the head of the sin offering (the live goat) and passed the sins of all Israelites onto it by laying his hands on the head of offering. Aaron then set them free from their sins by slaying the sin offering. So God sent His messenger before Jesus.



Who is John the Baptist?

John the Baptist is the messenger of God who is predicted in Malachi 3:1-3. The Lord needed the messenger, John the Baptist, who would represent all humankind. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, took away the eternal sins of all human beings through John the Baptist and was crucified as the wages of sin in the New Testament, while the sheep took away the sins of a limited period of time and was slain in the Old Testament. Therefore, Jesus saved all people from eternal sins.

Two big events happened before the birth of Jesus. One was that Mary conceived Jesus and the other was that John the Baptist was born in the division of Abijah. These two events happened in Divine Providence. It was the perfect play written by God. God sent John the Baptist to the world six months prior to Jesus and then sent His only begotten Son in order to set us free from warfare and pain. Do you understand? Let's look deeper into the Bible.

Let us look at Mathew 11:7-14, in which testifies John the Baptist. "As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: 'What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: 'Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.' Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come."

People went out to the wilderness to see John the Baptist, who cried out, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hands!" (Matthew 3:2) Jesus told them, "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet."

In the age of the Old Testament, a king was no more powerful than a prophet. Kings obeyed what prophets said. Who was more powerful than all the kings and prophets in the Old Testament? He was John the Baptist. Jesus Himself testified it. Who was the representative of all humankind? Who was the representative of all human beings who have flesh, except for Jesus? He was John the Baptist. John the Baptist was the earthly High Priest of all humankind. He was appointed by the Lord Himself and sent to the world and played his role.

"But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: 'Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.'"

Isaiah prophesied that the warfare in Jerusalem would come to an end. We can find that the prophecy was realized when John the Baptist said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). John the Baptist testified that Jesus was the Son of God and took away all the sins of the world.

On the other hand, Jesus testified that John the Baptist was God chosen messenger who was to come. Matthew 11:11 states, "Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist." Has there risen one greater than John the Baptist among those who are born of women? No. What does "among those born of women" mean? It means "all the people in the world." The words, "among those born of women has not risen one greater than John the Baptist," means that John the Baptist was the representative of all the people in the world. He was a High Priest because he was born in the family of Aaron.



John the Baptist was the representative of all the people in the world

Can you believe that John the Baptist was the representative of all the people in the world and the High Priest who passed all our sins onto Jesus, knowing that God appointed Aaron and his descendants to minister the priesthood forever in the Old Testament?

Who was the representative of all humankind? And who was the representative of all the people who have flesh, except for only Jesus? He was John the Baptist, who baptized Jesus.

"Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: 'Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.'"

And the man who testified, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29), was John the Baptist.

Jesus said, "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John" (Matthew 11:12-13). This passage shows that Jesus took away all the sins of the world by receiving baptism from John the Baptist and became the Savior to all humankind. It also shows that John the Baptist passed all the sins of the world onto Jesus. Jesus Himself said so. This means that John the Baptist passed the world's sins onto Jesus and whoever believes this fact is saved from all his/her sins and will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Is this right or wrong? It's exactly right according to God's word, and thus we the preachers of the biblical truth can deliver it in a dignified manner. Whoever believes the truth will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.



John the Baptist passed the sins of the world onto Jesus as the last High Priest of the Old Testament

Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, heard from an angel of the Lord. Let us examine the testimony of Zacharias to his son. Isn't the testimony of his father more than exact? Let us see his testimony sung in the form of a psalm. "Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: 'Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David, As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, Who have been since the world began, That we should be saved from our enemies And from the hand of all who hate us, To perform the mercy promised to our fathers And to remember His holy covenant, The oath which He swore to our father Abraham: To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.' So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel" (Luke 1:67-80).

His father predicted what kind of prophet and priest John would become. Let us see what he predicted to his son. "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace" (Luke 1:76-79).

Here, the Bible clearly says, "To give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins." Who gives us knowledge of salvation? Luke 1:76 indicates that he is John the Baptist. We come to know Jesus and believe in Him because John the Baptist testified that Jesus Christ saved sinners from their sins by receiving baptism from him to take away the sins, which was done in the most just and fair manner. John the Baptist "came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light" (John 1:7-8).



We must be saved

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We have to be redeemed by believing that Jesus saved all the people in the world through the most just and fair manner by receiving baptism from John the Baptist. The righteousness of God says that Jesus came to the world in the likeness of men, delivered sinners from all their sins in the most just and fair manner by being baptized by John the Baptist and was brought back to life after being crucified. The righteousness of God is hidden in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

The righteousness of God that is revealed in the gospel teaches us that Jesus was sent in the likeness of men, was baptized, crucified, and rose again from the dead on the third day. We came to believe in Jesus through the testimony of John the Baptist and were saved from all our sins by believing in Jesus' righteousness. All people's sins were blotted out and they have eternal lives by the faith in Jesus through John the Baptist. They have received the Holy Spirit, who testifies us to be God's children, as a gift.

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