23 February 2010 (Shleshi/Bikkurim)
Immersed in Messiah
What is the Correct Doctrine of Baptism?
I am occasionally asked by people who have left what they now consider to be apostate or heretical churches whether their original baptisms are valid or not. Many wonder if they should be rebaptised or not, particularly those coming out of churches or organisations who claim to be the 'one and only true church' such as the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, the New Apostolic, Catholic and Orthodox Churches. As far as the latter are concerned, very definitely, because their baptismal requirements exceed the limit and mandate of biblical baptism. If that baptism was followed by a laying on of hands as a kind of 'continuation ordinance' or 'confirmation', for the conferral of the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit (Ruach haQodesh) under the assumption that either that church alone could 'give' the Holy Spirit or the assumption that officiating minister was passing on something which he 'had' by right, then definitely you need to be rebaptised. Not only that, but you need to cancel all ordinances and obligations and spiritual receptions received from that church or organisation in the Name of Yah'shua the Messiah and expell any spirits you may have received along with them.
I knew a Jehovah's Witness lady who had problems with her leg making it almost impossible for her to walk. After she had renounced her JW baptism and expelled any connected demonic powers, her leg was instantly healed. If you are an ex-Mormon, you might like to follow the proceedure to get cleansed here. You can adapt this to any false organisation or church you were a part of.
So false baptisms are indeed dangerous and can give legal grounds to demons. If you were baptised before you reached the age of accountability, before you were able to makle a choice for Messiah yourself, and before you were born again, then you also need to be rebaptised. Baptism is a sign before witnesses that you have been born again of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and that you mean to die to self and be raised in the resurrection power of the Messiah, and to forever live in that. If you were baptised by sprinkling instead of full immersion then you also need to be rebaptised because sprinkling is denial of the need for a complete rebirth into newness of life. Sprinkling simply denotes partial committment and partial rebirth which is not the Gospel. If you were baptised as a baby, or because you were 'expected' to be because of peer pressure without your heart being in it, then you need to be rebaptised when that is truly the desire of your heart.
What is baptism? Baptism is the immersion of your life into the life of the resurrected Messiah Yah'shua who is our Elohim (God) and Deliverer (Saviour) from sin. If you were baptised into a Christ who was not regarded as deity (such as by the Christadelphians, Unitarians, etc.) or if you were baptised merely to represent membership in a church, then you need to be rebaptised as soon as possible. Baptism is to be "baptised into Messiah Yah'shua (Christ Jesus)...into His death" (Rom.6:3, NKJV). That means we are signalling our willingness to die to the old carnal man (or woman) and start afresh IN Messiah. We are baptised into the Person of Messiah too in exactly the same way as Israel was baptised into the person of Moses who was Yahweh's representative - and it was a double baptism "in the cloud and in the sea (water)" (1 Cor.10:2, NKJV). What does it mean to be baptised "in the cloud"? It means to be baptised into those who are of the covenant who are our witnesses (Heb.12:1). To be baptised, then, is to:
In other words, baptism by immersion means identifiction with the Bridegroom (Yah'shua) and the Bride (New Covenant Israel...not the Israeli Republic). It means entering into a personal relationship with Yah'shua the Messiah, dying to self, and arising IN Him...in His zoŽ life. But it also means immersing oneself into the Covenant Nation (not a 'church' or 'organisation') of Messianic Israel - into the cloud of witnesses. It means becoming a oart of the uniplural Bride of Messiah. If you are not baptised into that and refuse to obey the obligations of that marriage union, then you cannot inherit the first resurrection.
- 1. Be immersed into Messiah's death and resurrection; and
- 2. Immersed into the Covenant Nation of Messianic Israel.
So what baptisms are valid? If you have been baptised by some church (like the Baptists) who accept the Apostles' Creed into Christ, and you were genuinely born again, then that is a valid baptism into Christ and does not need to be repeated. But if you have not been baptised into Messianic Israel, and have not entered covenants to obey the Torah, then you need to be rebaptised to do that at some point too. That would then constitute a complete baptism and can be done in two parts or all at once. But if any Messianic group comes along and says that only they are 'Restored Israel' and only they have the authority to represent Israel and make halachah (binding rules) on the Messianic Community, and no one else, then they are perpetrating the same 'one-and-only-church' error as the Mormons, Catholics, Orthodox, Jehovah's Witnesses and others and need to be renounced.
This is the practice we follow and the formula we employ:
If you can find someone who is a true believer who can do that for you, then that is what I recommend you do. If you are not sure about Messianic Israel yet, then at lead make sure you are baptised into Christ and obey that part of the commandment.
3.1. Address the candidate before the witnesses present, and ask: "Have you truly repented of all your sins?" If the candidate replies, "Yes", with a pure conscience, a broken heart and a contrite spirit, the Zaqen/Elder shall ask: "Are you willing to take upon yourself the Name of Yah'shua the Messiah/Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve Him to the end?" (1 Pet.4:14; 1 Thes.1:9; Mt.24:13; Heb.6:11; Rev. 2:26) If the candidate replies, "Yes", he will be invited to bear his testimony of the Messiah Yah'shua and of his call to be a covenant part of Messianic Israel before the congregation. The congregation will then be invited to receive the candidate into fellowship as a baptised member by a simple show of hands. If there is any objection, a discrete enquiry will be made until all are satisfied. If there are no objections:
3.2. The administrating Elder shall stand in the water with the candidate, and with upraised right hand, say: "Having been commissioned by Yah'shua the Messiah/Jesus Christ, I baptise you into the Messiah Yah'shua and into the New Covenant of Messianic Israel in the Name of the Father Yahweh, and of the Son Yah'shua, and of the [Sevenfold] Ruach haQodesh/Holy Spirit. Amen" (Mt.28:19), and then fully immerse the candidate" (Conditions for Membership in NCCG/MLT)
Now go and get baptised!