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The Baptism of Immersion


One brother contacted me recently and asked me if I would discuss the concept of baptism or immersion.  In the Eth CEPHER, we use the word immersion.  Let’s take a look:

Yahuchanon (John) 4:7-14
There came a woman of Shomeron to draw water: YAHUSHA said to her: Give me a drink. 8 (For his Talmidiym were gone away to the city to buy food.) 9 Then said the woman of Shomeron to him: How is it that you, being a Yahudiy, ask a drink of me, who is a woman of Shomeron? For the Yahudiym have no dealings with the Shomeroniym. 10 YAHUSHA answered and said to her: If you knew the gift of YAH, and who it is that says to you: Give me a drink; you would have asked of him, and he would have given you living water. 11 The woman said to him: Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then have you that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Ya`aqov, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 YAHUSHA answered and said to her, Whosoever drinks of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

This gives us a preliminary understanding, but what does it tell us about immersion?

Let’s start with the underlying Greek, because the word baptize cannot be found in the Tanakh.

βαπτίζω baptizo (Strong’s G907) is the Greek word commonly interpreted to mean to immerse, to submerge; or to make fully wet.  We felt the English in this case – immersion - was a better choice than its Greek foundation.

Ma’asiym (Acts) 2:37-38
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Kepha and to the rest of the apostles: Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Kepha said to them: Repent, and be immersed every one of you in the name of YAHUAH-YAHUSHA for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the RUACH HAQODESH.

Before we get too long in the tooth over the bolded passage in this verse, consider the last clause.  Many people read this clause to vitiate the need for a latter immersion in the RUACH HAQODESH (baptism of the Holy Spirit), because, they reason, the gift of the RUACH HAQODESH is received with an immersion in water.  However, a closer look at the word for gift which Strong’s tells us is the word δωρεά (dōreá) (G1431) (meaning gift) is in fact δωρεαν (doreal), which means free or freely.  . . . and you shall receive freely the RUACH HAQODESH. Subtle, but interesting nonetheless.

We are told of course, that there is no baptism in the Old Testament, but is that true? When we consider its best meaning, veering away from the Greek to use a term which discusses its actual function, we do find a counterpart in the Hebrew, and that word is (טָבַל) tabal.

Tabal (טָבַל) (Strong's H2881) is a primitive root, and is generally interpreted to mean to dip, to immerse: or to plunge. In fact, one could say it has the exact same meaning as the Greek word βαπτίζω baptize.  This understanding is about to take us to some fairly amazing places.

Bere’shiyth (Genesis) 37:31
And they took Yoceph’s את eth-coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped [tabal - immersed] את eth-the coat in the blood;

If we spend a bit of time on this passage, we reflect on this coat of many colours (Bere’shiyth 37:3). There are those who say the coat had 12 colours, but it may have had 13 or 14; and that the colours refect the signets of the twelve tribes of Yashar’el.  This coat that signified all of the house of Yashar’el was then immersed in the blood of the lamb.  The purposes of the immersion was to give evidence to the death of Yoceph, yet Yoceph was not dead but living.  And so, our foreshadowing figure of Yoceph gives us a sign of the immersion in the blood of all of the house of Yashar’el.

Shemoth (Exodus) 12:21-22
Then Mosheh called for all the elders of Yashar’el, and said unto them: Draw out and take a lamb according to your families, and kill the Pecach.  22 And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it [tabal - immerse] in the blood that is in the basin, and strike twice the lintel and the side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.

Such a remarkable passage.  The doorposts were marked in the sign of the Paleo Hebrew Tav with the blood of the Pecach lamb, which was placed on the hyssop by means of immersion. And so, for the second time, we see the immersed blood of the lamb as a marker for the house of Yashar’el.

Bemidbar (Numbers) 19:17-20
And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel: 18 And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it [tabal - immerse] in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave: 19 And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at evening. 20 But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from among the assembly, because he has defiled את eth-the sanctuary of YAHUAH: the water of separation has not been sprinkled upon him; he is unclean.

Here, we find the sprinkle method used by some denominations to create a cleanness, however, you never see this done on the third day and then on the seventh day.  The current church can’t even find the seventh day.

But consider, that this passage goes on to say that the person in question should purify himself, by washing his clothes, and bathing (ורחץ)(v’rachats) in water (במים)(b’mayim) (not blood). 

With this passage, we have opened a door that cannot be closed.                                                                                                   

Enter the red heifer. אדמה פרה (para adumah)

Bemidbar (Numbers) 19:1-10
AND YAHUAH spoke unto El-Mosheh and to El-Aharon, saying: 2 This is the ordinance (chuqqah) of the Torah which YAHUAH has commanded, saying: Speak unto the children of Yashar’el, that they bring you a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke: 3 And you shall give her to El`azar the priest, that he may bring her forth outside the camp, and one shall slay her before his face: 4 And El`azar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before the Tabernacle of the assembly seven times: 5 And one shall burn את eth-the heifer in his sight; את eth-her skin, and את eth-her flesh, and את eth-her blood, with her dung, shall he burn: 6 And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer. 7 Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the evening. 8 And he that burns her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the evening. 9 And a man that is clean shall gather up את eth the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up outside the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the assembly of the children of Yashar’el for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin. 10 And he that gathers את eth-the ashes of the heifer shall wash את eth-his clothes, and be unclean until the evening: and it shall be unto the children of Yashar’el, and unto the stranger that sojourns among them, for a statute (chuqqah) forever.

Let’s take a look at this “red” heifer for just a moment.  We begin with this look at a passage in Zakaryahu.

Zakaryahu (Zechariah) 2:12
And YAHUAH shall inherit את eth-Yahudah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Yerushalayim again.

The “holy land” in the Hebrew is adamah qodesh קֹדֶשׁ אֲדָמָה compare now with our “red” heifer, i.e., אדמה פרה (para adumah).

However, when we compare adamah (אדמה) to adumah (אדמה), we see the same letters (when we compare without Masoretic vowel distortion). In other words, the para may not necessarily be red, but may simply be from the Holy Land. Let’s continue through this passage.

Bemidbar (Numbers) 19:11-20
He that touches the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days. 12 He shall purify himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean: but if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean. 13 Whosoever touches the dead body of any man that is dead, and does not purify himself, defiles את eth-the Tabernacle of YAHUAH; and that soul shall be cut off from Yashar’el: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him. 14 This is the Torah, when a man dies in a tent: all that come into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days. 15 And every open vessel, which has no covering bound upon it, is unclean. 16 And whosoever touches one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. 17 And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel: 18 And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it [tabal – immerse] in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave: 19 And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at evening. 20 But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from among the assembly, because he has defiled את eth-the sanctuary of YAHUAH: the water of separation has not been sprinkled upon him; he is unclean. 

Numbers 19:1-22, is in the Torah portion Chukat. These verses are read as the final Torah reading on Shabbath Parah, the Sabbath of the Red Heifer, which occurs on the last Shabbath of the month of Adar, just before Pecach (Passover).  Because only people who were clean could eat from the Pecach sacrifice, in ancient times a public announcement reminded anyone who had become impure to purify themselves before making the Passover pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

With this understanding, we cross an interesting threshold, because notwithstanding the Edenic Torah that food was every herb bearing seed has been given to you, which is upon the face of all the earth, and את eth every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; (Bere’shiyth (Genesis) 1:29), we find an edict in Shemoth concerning the eating of the Pecach lamb by every person of every household. Shemoth (Exodus) 12:3-11 – the same chapter where we find the command to strike twice the doorpost.  The eating of the Lamb would then cause contact with a dead body, even for the vegan. 

We have something new with coming of the Lamb of YAHUAH, because as the Lamb was commanded to be eaten, so we have another command to eat of the Lamb:

Yahuchanon (John) 6:51-58
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. 52 The Yahudiym therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53 Then YAHUSHA said unto them: Amein, Amein, I say unto you: Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Adam, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eats me, even he shall live by me. 58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers ate manna, and are dead: he that eats of this bread shall live forever.

This presented a difficult issue for the Talmidiym.  Cannibalism? Is this what was recommended? No, this was further clarified, by he who could clarify:

Yahuchanon (John) 22:19-20
And he took את eth-the bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave to them, saying: This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying: This cup is the Renewed Covenant in my blood, which is shed for you.

And given the statute that we see in Bemidbar (Numbers) 19, anyone who has touched a dead body is unclean until such a time as they are sprinkled with the water of separation. But the water of separation has not been created for thousands of years.  Where does that leave us?

Believe it or not, the answer lies in what constitutes uncleanness rather than the water of separation, because the water of separation concerns only those who have touched a human corpse.  What about the rest of us?  Clean or unclean?

Yechezq’el (Ezekiel) 36:16
Moreover the Word of YAHUAH came to me, saying: 17 son of Adam, when the house of Yashar’el dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed woman.

The whole of the house of Yashar’el defiled their own land by going their own way (דֶּרֶךְ derek), and by their doings. We often discuss this in our fellowship. Is not the Christian church in America going its own way, and doing its own thing? Yet is was MASHIACH who said: I AM the way (דֶּרֶךְ derek), the truth (אֶמֶת ʼemeth), and the life (חַים chayim), yet the church teaches that a person should go his own way – do his own thing, and worry not, because on one is under the Torah.  And so, the times have been changed; the feasts have been changed; etc.

Going your own way and doing your own thing is called uncleanness. However, there is a remedy:

Yechezq’el (Ezekiel) 36:25-30
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new ruach will I put within you: and I will take away את eth-the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put את eth-my RUACH within you, and cause you את eth to walk in my statutes, and you shall guard my judgments, and do them.

We have yet another example of baptism in the Tanakh that is worthy of discussion, where the king who had become a leper sought a healing from Eliysha. Eliysha’s instruction directed the king to immerse himself in the Yardan seven times.  When the king finally did so, he was made clean.

Melekiym Sheniy (2 Kings) 5:8-14
And it was so, when Eliysha the man of ELOHIYM had heard that the king of Yashar’el had rent את eth-his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying: Wherefore have you rent your clothes? Let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Yashar’el. 9 So Na`aman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Eliysha. 10 And Eliysha sent a messenger unto him, saying: Go and wash in the Yardan seven times, and your flesh shall come again to you, and you shall be clean. 11 But Na`aman was wroth, and went away, and said: Behold, I thought: He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of YAHUAH ELOHAYU, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. 12 Are not Abanah and Parpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Yashar’el? May I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 And his servants came near, and spoke to him, and said: My father, if the prophet had bid you do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much rather then, when he says to you: Wash, and be clean? 14 Then went he down, and dipped [tabal – immersed] himself seven times in the Yardan, according to the saying of the man of ELOHIYM: and his flesh came again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

So, we can conclude here that Mosheh tells us that and if a man, on the seventh day, purifies himself, and washes his clothes, and bathe himself in water, then he shall be ritually clean at evening. Bemidbar (Numbers) 19:19. Yechezq’el (Ezekiel) tells us that YAH will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be spiritually clean. Eliysha tells Na`aman that if he immerses himself seven times into the Yardan (Jordan), he will be physically clean.

Does this transfer into the Brit Chadasha (New Testament)? Of course.

Marqus (Mark) 1:2-4
As it is written in the prophets: Behold, I send my messenger before your face, which shall pre-pare your way before you. 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare you the Way of YAHUAH, make his paths straight. 4 Yahuchanon immersed in the wilderness, and preached the immersion of repentance for the remission of sins.

One question that is answered here is the question WWJD? (Of course, we reference this question as WDYD – What did YAHUSHA do?).

Luqas (Luke) 3:15-16
And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of Yahuchanon, whether he were HAMASHIACH, or not; 16 Yahuchanon answered, saying to them all, I indeed immerse you with water; but one mightier than I comes, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall immerse you with the RUACH HAQODESH and with fire:

And of course, we see this come to fruition:

Mattithyahu (Matthew) 3:13-17
Then came YAHUSHA from Galiyl to the Yardan to Yahuchanon, to be immersed of him. 14 But Yahuchanon forbade him, saying: I have need to be immersed of you, and come you to me? 15 And YAHUSHA answering said unto him: Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becomes us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And YAHUSHA, when he was immersed, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw את eth-the RUACH YAHUAH descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying: This is my yachiyd, in whom I am well pleased.

Here, we see the immersion in water as a necessity to fulfill all righteousness. Does this mean anything to the modern church, or is righteousness a dead concept that appears someone in the Besorah (Gospel) of Mattithyahu?

In conclusion then, we can see that the rite of immersion is given to create cleanness – spiritual cleanness, ritual cleanness, and physical cleanness, and to fulfill all righteousness.  With your immersion – becoming fully wet – so many things occur: you are made clean, even from your idolatry; you will be given a new heart, a heart of flesh and not of stone, a new ruach will be put within you, and the RUACH YAHUAH will be placed within you, and you will be caused to walk in his statutes, to guard his judgments, and to do them.

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