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Wednesday, March 2 2016

Matthew 3: The Messiah's Baptism

"The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ"

As a Levite, John, who became known as "John the Baptist," would have been well-familiar with the ancient LORD-commanded symbolic purpose of immersion in water for the Levites before entering into the Tabernacle or Temple (see What Did John The Baptist's Father Do At The Temple?). It was however a practice that was seen even before the establishment of the Levite priesthood (see When Were The Levites Set Apart?) - when the Israelites crossed the sea at the time of the first Passover (see The First Passover). Note carefully, as plainly-stated in the verses below, that "the LORD God," Who led them through their baptism, was later born as Jesus Christ (see The Identity Of The LORD God and The LORD God Our Saviour).

The Jordan River

"10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 10:7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 10:8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 10:9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10:10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." (1 Corinthians 10:1-13 KJV)

Even earlier, the Flood in the time of Noah was a "baptism" of the repentant (see Why Did The Flood Happen? and The Flood).

"3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him." (1 Peter 3:18-22 KJV)

So it was then that John was called to provide a baptism of repentance - not "for show" repentance (see Why Call Me, Lord, Lord, and Do Not The Things Which I Say?), but genuine repentance (see Strait And Straight and Which Way Is Right And Left?).

"3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

3:4 And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. 3:5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 3:6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 3:10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." (Matthew 3:1-12 KJV)

John was understandably reluctant to baptize the Messiah because he knew that Jesus of Nazareth was sinless. The Messiah insisted however, as an example, and even "to fulfill all righteousness" in Himself because, as a mortal man, He was in a state of repentance. The Messiah didn't have to repent to be there, but He had a lifetime of overcoming the attacks from Satan to stay there e.g. the "temptation of Christ" (see Who Is Tempting You?).

"3:13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 3:14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

3:15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:13-17 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why is repentance necessary for salvation? Why isn't the LORD going to allow evil and rebellion in His Kingdom?
See Why Repent? and Christ Died For Repentant Sinners


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This Day In History, March 2

537: The Ostrogoth army (the Ostrogoths were a Germanic tribe) under King Vitiges began the Siege of Rome. Germany later became the Roman Empire (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).

German
986: Louis V became King of the Franks.

1127: Charles (known as "Charles the Good"), Count of Flanders, was assassinated.

1461: The Lancastrians defeated the Yorkists at the second Battle of St. Albans'.

1509: The Portuguese, led by Francisco de Almeida, destroyed the Muslim fleet in the Battle of Diu, establishing Portuguese control of Indian waters.

1536: Spanish explorer Pedro de Mendoza founded Buenos Aires.

1556: The world's worst earthquake, in China's Shaanxi, Shansi and Henan provinces, killed an estimated 830,000 people.

1619: Queen Anne of Denmark, wife of King James I of England (after whom the King James Version of the Bible is named) died at age 45.

1626: Charles I was crowned king of England.

1653: New Amsterdam became a city (it is known today as New York).

1709: British sailor Alexander Selkirk was rescued after being marooned on a desert island for 5 years. His story was the inspiration of Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe."

1797: The Bank of England issued the first one and two Pound banknotes.

1801: The War of The Oranges between Spain and Portugal began. French troops fought alongside the Spanish after Portugal refused Napoleon's demand to cede much of the country to him.

1807: The U.S. Congress passed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves, disallowing the importation of new slaves into the country (the Act did little to decrease slavery because there was already sufficient "breeding stock" in the U.S. to supply slave holders).

1808: French forces under Napoleon occupied Rome. Pope Pius VII was arrested and detained.

Napoleon
1836: Texas declared independence from Mexico.

1848: The war between the U.S. and Mexico ended after the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo.

1882: Queen Victoria narrowly escaped an assassination attempt by Roderick McLean in Windsor.

1943: The Battle of the Bismark Sea began. 12 Japanese ships carrying reinforcements to New Guinea were sunk by Allied airplanes, killing nearly 4,000 troops and sailors.

1945: During the Second World War, 1,200 British Royal Air Force planes bombed Wiesbaden and Karlsruhe in Germany.

1965: During the Vietnam Civil War (of which first France, and then the U.S. became involved), the U.S. began "Operation Rolling Thunder," a sustained heavy bombing campaign of North Vietnam.

1969: In Toulouse, France, the first test flight of the Anglo-French Concorde is completed.

1974: A grand jury in Washington concluded that President Richard Nixon was criminally involved in the Watergate cover-up.

1983: The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) resumed in Geneva.

1998: Scientific data from the Galileo spacecraft indicated that Jupiter's moon Europa has a liquid ocean under a thick crust of ice.

2002: The U.S. invaded Afghanistan under the pretext of a response to the 9-11 terrorist attacks. All of the 9-11 terrorists were actually from Saudi Arabia (as was Osama bin Laden himself) and Pakistan - two countries (Saudi Arabia, with a major U.S. oil supply that no one wanted to bomb, and Pakistan, that has nuclear weapons to defend itself from any invader) that were instead declared to be "partners in the war against terrorism." All of the 9-11 terrorists were legally allowed into the U.S., directly on flights from the Middle East, with official U.S. tourist or student visas (some of them even learned to fly airliners at U.S. flight schools). As well, none of the terrorists entered through Canada, despite a convenient "blame everyone else" propaganda myth that they did.



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