This week I'd like to share one of my favorite teachings by Todd (board member / Freedom in Yeshua Ministries). It will explain a great deal about our Lord Jesus, and what took place
at His Baptism.
The Baptism of Yeshua.
During my 23 years as a Spirit-filled follower of Yeshua, I have had a few different beliefs on the B’rit
Hadashah (New Testament) baptism. None of which were doctrines that I would fight over like the death and resurrection of Yeshua. Most of my beliefs were influenced by Christian denominational teachings and famous preachers of the faith.
Is water baptism necessary for justification? How many baptisms are there? Hebrews 6:2 says multiple, but Ephesians 4:5 says one. What is the difference between the baptism of the Ruach ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) and that of water?
Why did some people receive the Spirit when water baptized and others didn’t (Acts 8:13-19)? And why were some people Spirit baptized first and then were water baptized afterward (Acts 10:44-48)? If water baptism saves, then why don’t
we visit every newborn in the world? I did not receive satisfying answers to these questions, so that remained unresolved in my mind until revelation was given.
And my biggest questions not adequately answered were those around Yeshua’s
words and His baptism. He said, “John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Ruach ha Kodesh.” To me, this implies that the baptism of John was no longer needed, and yet why did Yeshua need to be baptized?
And why did Yeshua say that John was the greatest born of a woman up to that time? (Matt 11;11) John was greater than Abraham, Enoch, Daniel? Wow! Why? And then Yeshua, in the same verse says that we who are least in the Kingdom
are greater. What an incredibly powerful statement. But what was the significance of John?
I am sure that many of you have other questions not satisfactorily resolved as well. We, the children of the Kingdom, are on a
journey of truth and revelation. YHWH has shown me to be wrong in doctrine before, and I will be wrong again. Only He is always in truth. We need to have an attitude of learning, which is the definition of the word, disciple.
Over the last few years, I have realized that typical Western church teaching on the New Testament was providing only partial answers on many topics including baptism. The only “scripture” of Yeshua’s time and the first-century apostles
was what we called the Old Testament. (Other historical books were used and even quoted by the apostles and prophets, but that is for a different study.) Therefore, I increased my studying and meditating in the first books of scripture. As
a side note, I believe that one of the biggest barriers for Christians to understand scripture is that title page in our modern Bibles, after Malachi, and before Matthew, called “The New Testament.” It is neither a new testament nor the beginning
of a different section of the Bible. It is a continuation and revelation of the “Old Testament.”
Now, back to the baptism of Yeshua. Three revelations have helped me with my current position on Yeshua’s baptism:
a) the Biblical definition and custom of baptism, b) the timing and reason for the Levitical priesthood, and c) the Melchizedek priesthood. Each of these topics has had whole books written about them, but not frequently if at all, used as building blocks
on water baptism. And people smarter than I have wrestled with these topics. However, even the simple, the hungry, and the young can receive revelation by the Ruach if our hearts seek Yeshua and we desire to obey His commandments. Therefore,
below is a short framework, not close to exhaustive, of thoughts, from scripture, for each of you to meditate and pray upon for Holy revelation. After a brief discussion on the three topics, this study will conclude with Matt 3, and Yeshua’s baptism
YHWH is amazing. Enjoy the journey!
Baptism, baptismos, Strong’s definition of 909/908/907
submerge; to make whelmed (i.e. fully wet): used only (in the New Testament) of ceremonial ablution, especially (technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism: Baptist, baptize, wash.
Notice that the words ceremonial, ordinance, and
wash are used. Sometimes the Greek word for baptism is translated into English as “wash.” This can be seen in Mark 7:4, 8, and a very revealing passage in Hebrews 9:10. In all of these cases, priests were the context characters.
Levitical priests, during the time of Yeshua, were washing, or “baptizing,” themselves and their vessels as part of the Law of Moses.
The brass basin was used by the Levites for washing or baptizing as part of their priestly
commandments under the Book of the Law.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. For
Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by
fire unto the LORD: So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.”
The priests needed to wash themselves
outwardly prior to ministering, and confess their sins inwardly. See Matt 23:25-28.
This was the ceremonial ordinance that the Levites were to follow. John the Baptist was a Levite. His parents were Levites. Luke
1:5. He was washing/baptizing people in water to prepare a “kingdom of priests.” By the Ruach, he knew that no longer would just the Levites be priests, imposed under the law, but the “renewed” covenant fulfillment of all
Israel being priests was being brought about by the Messiah. (Ex 19:6, 2 Peter 2:5, 9, Rev 5:10)
Historical background on the priestly division at that time provides great insight. In particular, the battle between the
Ithamar and Eleazor/Zadokite/Zealot/Essene Levitical lines over who was the rightly scriptural high priest lineage is helpful understanding why John was in the “wilderness.” (The Eleazar/Zadokite line was the rightful lineage. Num
3:32) In my opinion, John the Baptist could have been the rightful Levitical high priest after the order of Zadok. Caiaphas was a corrupt priest, with a lineage in part Levi/Ithamar and in part Edom/Esau!
Hence, the act of baptism
was not new during the time of Yeshua’s ministry, but rather clearly understood by Israelites, as a priestly ordinance. It was a radical position, at that time, however, for tribes other than Levi, to be baptized. This act was seen as rebellion
by leadership because if John came in the spirit of Elijah, then the Messiah was near and their imposed leadership would come to an end.
The Book of the Law, and its connection with the Levitical priesthood.
In Genesis 12:1-3, we read of the promise given to Abram.
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I
will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the
earth be blessed.”
This is a promise, freely given. It includes land, offspring, greatness, blessing, renown, influence, relationships, and protection. This promise/covenant was passed down through Abraham’s generations.
After the Exodus, at Mt Sinai, on Shavuot (Pentecost), YHWH brought all of Israel before Him to wed Israel, and make them a Kingdom of priests. All twelve tribes would become priests, not just Levi. Below is the sequence of events.
Ex 19:3-7. YHWH’s proposal (covenant promise to their father, Abraham) is declared to all of Israel.
Ex 19:8. Israel accepts the proposal.
Ex 20:2-17. Marriage contract declared.
Judgments, or civil law, executing the marriage contract is given.
Ex 23:14-19. Feasts of YHWH are given.
Ex 23:20-23. YHWH’s Angel/Messenger will be present. Who is this? Different study.
Directions on dealings with Canaanites.
Ex 24:3. People agree to proposal, contract, judgments, feasts, and directions.
Ex 24:4. Moses writes down all that they agreed to.
Ex 24:5-8 blood ratification of agreed-upon covenant.
Ex 24:9-11. Covenant confirming meal. Just like Melchizedek/Abraham, and Yeshua and His disciples.
All of the events described above are the enactment of YHWH’s promise to Abram for his offspring. Signed, sealed,
Then, something strange happens, in Ex 24:12. YHWH tells Moses to come to the mountain, and He will give Moses additional items that the people did not agree to. While Moses is on the mount, the people rebel and
make a golden calf, breaking the first and second wedding contract commandments. Scripture is not always chronological. I believe that Moses was given the beginning of additional instructions, including the Law, in YHWH’s foreknowledge of
Israel breaking covenant. An example where scripture is not chronological is in Ex 16:33-34, when Moses is instructed to place Manna in the ark of the covenant. The instructions for building the ark don’t take place until Ex 25.
When Moses comes down, YHWH was going to completely destroy Israel, and start over with Moses as Abraham’s covenant recipient. Ex 32:10. Moses intervenes, and YHWH’s punishment is temporarily held off. (Ex 32:34. When
He visits Israel, sin will be addressed. Yeshua took on the anger of the Father that was held back since the Golden calf.) Then, Moses asked all 12 tribes, who would stand with him. The Levites did. Ex 32:26. Because of Israel’s
sin, YHWH could no longer dwell amongst the people; therefore, He dwelt outside the camp. Ex 33:7.
To shorten this lesson, the Levites were given the responsibility to encircle the tent of meeting as a buffer between YHWH and Israel,
lest they would be consumed. Num 2:47-53. sIn fact, the name Levi literally means, “joining.” Israel was given the Book of the Law, not agreed upon, with just one tribe serving as priests. From Ex 24:12 to Deut 34:12, the Book
of the Law was given as a temporary means to withhold YHWH’s wrath. It was then placed on the side of the ark, Deut 31:26. The covenant was placed inside the ark. These are two different documents. Once a covenant is agreed upon,
it cannot be added to, but only broken. Gal 3:15. This law included the ceremonial washing or baptizing of the Levitical priests. Yes, this was temporary! It was YHWH’s permissive will, not perfect, because of Israel’s rebellion.
The books of Galatians and Hebrews are great, direct explanations of these two “covenants.” Also, keep in mind that the Hebrew word “Torah” means instruction, whether it is associated with the Covenant or the Law.
In addition, note that Torah/instruction is used in conjunction with the Hebrew words for judgments, commandments, and ordinances. Unfortunately, our English translations use the word “law” for all of these different Hebrew words. Hence,
in the New Testament, we read law in the place of covenant, or a judgment/civil law, or the Book of the Law itself. We must rightly divide the Word of Truth. 2 Tim 2:15
Below are just a few scriptures highlighting the division
between the Book of the Covenant and the Book of the Law.
“Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no
man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added
because of transgressions (the golden calf), till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”
are an allegory: for these are the two covenants (book of the Covenant and the book of the Law); the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.”
Rom 9:4 (a division of Torah)
“Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and
the giving of the law (separate from the covenants), and the service of God, and the promises;”
In Hebrews chapters 7-9, it is important to note that the King James word “covenant” when
italicized is not in the original text, but added by the translators. The context is all about the priesthood, not covenant. This changes the meaning of the text.
“For the priesthood being
changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.”
“The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest
of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect
(Levite priesthood temporary), as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed (not agreed
to) on them until (a change in priesthood and corresponding law would come) the time of reformation.”
I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live;” (The covenant brings life, the law prevented wrath, but was not good.)
spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices (law): But this
thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice (Ex 19:5), and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you
(covenant). But they hearkened not (golden calf), nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward,
and not forward.”
Lev 26:40-46, Even under the book of the Law, YHWH remembers His covenant.
“If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass
which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them (this cannot be the covenant, it must be the imposed law that is not good), and have
brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept the punishment of their iniquity (golden calf): Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac,
and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.
The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her Sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity (wrath not satisfied until Yeshua on the tree): because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes. And yet for all
that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD. These are the statutes and judgments and laws,
which the LORD made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.”
Many doctrinal errors can be fixed once the confusion between the Book of the Covenant, agreed upon, and the Book of the
Law imposed upon, is understood.
In scripture, very little is directly written about the Melchizedek priesthood.
However, it is the glue that transitions believers in Yeshua from Book of the Law to Book of the Covenant. Both require priests. One is of heaven and is eternal for the heavenly sanctuary, and one dies, has temporary duty, and is for the earthly
tabernacle. Of course, the temporary priesthood under the Book of the Law, were the Levites. The heavenly priesthood, for the Book of the Covenant, was the order of Melchizedek. Melchi means “King,” and Zedek/Zadok means “righteousness,”
or “one who obeys the divine law.”
Examining each of the Hebrew letters making up the name Zadok gives us even more insight to its meaning. Tsede: humble man; dalet: open door; kuf:
sun that is halfway down/hidden.
Placing all of the three letters together, Zadok/Zedek means, “Humble man that opens the door to hidden things.”
The obvious verses of the Melchizedek priesthood are in Gen 14: 18-20, Ps 110, and Hebrews 5-13. Also, the book of Jasher, mentioned in Josh 10:13 and 2 Sam 1:18, speaks at much greater length of the Melchizedek priesthood.
In addition, the text in the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS), written before Yeshua’s earthly ministry, have many other mentions of Melchizedek in scripture where our translators gave us the word “LORD.” For example, in the DSS, Is 61:2, reads,
“To proclaim the acceptable year of Melchizedek….” Imagine, in Luke 4, when Yeshua reads this passage in the synagogue, declaring Himself as the Melchizedek!
As discussed in topic B), the Levitical priesthood,
related to the Book of the Law, had a time limit when “UNTIL” was fulfilled. To clarify, however, one exception was made in Torah. A promise was given to the Zadok line of Levite priests that they would minister forever. 2 Sam
8:17. In fact, we see Zadokites performing priestly duties in Ezekiel’s vision of a millennial temple. Ezek 40:46, 43:19, 44:15. This is role is only for Zadokites, not for the other Levitical priestly lines. YHWH in His brilliance
is about to change priesthoods, from Levi back to the original of Melchizedek (see Hebrew 7:9-10), and yet keep as a hint to us that it is Zadok!
1 “Why do the heathen rage, and the people
imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed (H4899, Messiah, anointed
was used of Kings and priests), saying, (the first reference to kings/rulers taking counsel together against YHWH is in Gen 14, where Melchizedek is mentioned.)
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their
cords (customs) from us.
4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou
art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. (Yeshua is given Melchi/Kingly authority by oath/spoken word, not bloodline. See Heb 7:20-21, 28.)
8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen
for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
10 Be wise now, therefore,
O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish
from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”
Ps 110. Closely linked to Ps 2 in words and phrases.
Psalm of David.) The LORD said (oath) unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
2 The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion:
rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
4 The LORD
hath sworn, and will not repent; Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
5 The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.
shall judge among the heathen; he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.
7 He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.”
we can pull these three topics of understanding together and look at Yeshua’s baptism.
“And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not
forth good fruit (the Book of the Law) is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water (regeneration unto life, see Titus 3:5) unto repentance
(priestly baptism): 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 (Eph 4:5), and with
fire (Mt Sinai, purging of sin, death to self): Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor (tried by fire), and gather his wheat into the
garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee (why Galilee? Because remnant of the House of Israel, still lived there, and it was the first location taken
into exile by the Assyrians. 2 Kings 15:29, Matt 10:6, 15:24) to Jordan (transition of wilderness/law to promised land/covenant) unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized
of thee (wanted Holy Spirit baptism), and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness
(or Zadok/Zedek). Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized (washed for Priestly preparation in the very water signifying transition from law to covenant), 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: And lo a voice from heaven (oath), saying, This is my beloved Son (Ps 2:7), in whom I am well pleased.”
In Matthew chapter 1, prior to His baptism, Yeshua is confirmed by blood lineage to be a king and a Levitical priest. Everyone knows about Him being of the tribe of Judah, but look how the Levite line is intertwined in His Matt 1 lineage.
1) Abia. Matt 1:7. Mother was Levite. 2 Chron 13:1-2.
2) Joatham. Matt 1:9. Mother was a Zadok/Levite. 2 Chron 27:1.
3) Hezekiah. Matt 1:9. Mother was a Levite. 2 Chron 29:1.
And since the time of Aaron, tribes were intermixing. Aaron’s wife was of Judah. Ex 6:23 cross-referenced with Num 1:7.
Then, after being baptized/priestly washed by the Levitical priest, John,
comes out of the water as a Melchi (King) Zedek (Priest), ready for service.
Much, much more could be said, but the bottom line is that Yeshua was water baptized to fulfill the Levitical priestly ordinance needed
to minister as High Priest.
And finally, since John, the Baptist was a Levitical priest, and the greatest one because he baptized Yeshua into the priesthood of Melchizedek, then John was the greatest born of a woman until that time.
But yet he is less than the least of the kingdom of Melchizedek priests which would follow.
Written by Todd, a board member of FIY Ministries
www.worshipandart.com Prayer request available.
Director of Freedom in Yeshua