Today I'd like
to talk to you about “water baptism” from a Messianic
Jewish viewpoint as well as from a Christian viewpoint.
word for entering the waters of baptism is pronounced “Mikvah”.
We first see reference to the word “Mikvah” during
creation in Genesis chapter 1. In Genesis 1:9, we see that
the “waters under the heavens are gathered to one place”.
The waters being gathered into one place reads in Hebrew
“Makom Echad” from the Hebrew root word “Makom” comes the
word “Mikvah” which actually means “a pool” or “a body of
In Genesis 1:2
we also see that the Spirit of God (Ruach Elohim in
Hebrew), was hovering over the waters. This is of great
interest to us as believers in Yeshua, for when Jesus
entered the “Mikvah” (meaning when He was baptized in the
Jordan River in Matthew 3:16 ), the Spirit of God also
descended “upon Him in the form of a dove”. Clearly, there
is a connection with entering the waters of baptism and
the outpouring of the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit.
in Yeshua, whether Jew or Gentile, we should most
definitely enter the Mikvah. Romans 6:4 “we were therefore
buried with Him through baptism into death in order that
first as the Messiah was raised from the dead through the
glory of the Father, we too may live a new life”. 2 nd
Corinthians 5:17 also says, “If anyone is in the Messiah,
he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come”.
Spirit was over the face of the waters during creation.
The Holy Spirit was over the water when Yeshua entered the
Mikvah. As believers in Jesus, as a “new creation” in the
Messiah, there is also a special dispensation of the Holy
Spirit when we enter the waters of Mikvah.
Some of you
may be asking the question, “what about the word
“baptism”? “Where did it come from?” “Baptism” is actually
a Greek word that comes from the root word “bapto” which
means, “to cover entirely with a fluid”. Of course, when
we hear that word “baptism” or “water baptism”, we often
think of it as something that originated with
Christianity. However, it actually finds its roots in
biblical Judaism in God's Torah. We'll see more of this in
tomorrow's teaching as we examine the many reasons why the
Israelites themselves entered the Mikvah.
case, we should all, whether Jew or Gentile, be “immersed”
in the waters of baptism. If it's good enough for Jesus,
it should be good enough for us.
I'll leave you
with two last scriptures which I am sure will give you
something to think about. In Mark 16:16, the Messiah said,
“He who believes and is baptized will be
saved but he who does not believe will be condemned”. He
also said in John 3:5, “unless a man is born of water and
the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God .”
began to talk about the subject of “water baptism”. In
biblical Judaism and in the Hebrew language, this is
referred to as entering the waters of “Mikvah”. The Hebrew
word “Mikvah” actually means “a pool” or “a gathering of
waters”. We first see reference to this during the
“creation”, itself in Genesis 1:9 where it says that the
“waters under the heavens were gathered into one place”.
We also saw
the connection between entering the waters of Mikvah and
the outpouring of the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit.
Genesis 1:2 says that “the Spirit of God was hovering over
the waters” during creation. The same Holy Spirit was
hovering over the Jordan River when Yeshua (Jesus) Himself
entered the “waters of Mikvah” and the “Spirit descended
on Him in the form of a dove”. (Matthew 3:16)
today who enter the waters of baptism as a “new creation”
in the Messiah, there is also a special dispensation and
outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
In God's Torah
(the first 5 books of the Bible), we see many examples of
how the Israelites were commanded by God to enter the
Mikvah for various reasons. Aaron and his sons (the
Levitical priesthood) were commanded to “wash themselves”
in the “laver of water” before ministering to the Lord in
the Tabernacle of Moses (Exodus 30:17-21). There was a
special “washing with water” for Aaron, the High Priest on
the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:4). A person with an
infectious skin disease had to “bathe himself in water”
(Leviticus 14: 8 & 9). There was a ritual “cleansing with
water” for women during their menstrual period (Leviticus
15). Some view the Israelites “passing through the Red Sea
” as a “corporate Mikvah” for the entire nation.
Israelites, it was first, “the blood of the Lamb”, then
the waters of baptism. It is the same for believers today!
God even commanded the Israelites to “wash their clothing”
before He gave them His Torah at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:10
ancient Jewish wedding customs, a “bride-to-be” went into
the Mikvah, a ritual cleansing preparing her for a new way
of life with her husband. How appropriate this is for
believers today who are the “bride of Messiah” entering
into a new way of life with Yeshua (Jesus) our Heavenly
baptism finds its roots in God's Torah and in ancient
Jewish lifestyle. Of course, entering the waters of Mikvah
is a dominant theme of the B'rit Hadashah (New Covenant).
Yeshua Himself entered the Mikvah (as we saw earlier in
Matthew 3:16 ). He commanded us to be baptized (Mark 16:16
and John 3:5). He commanded us to make disciples of all
nations (Matthew 28:19) and to baptize them in the Name of
Avinu (our Father), Yeshua (the Son), and the Ruach
HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). On the Day of Pentecost, 3000
Jewish believers went into the “waters of Mikvah” and
received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38 -41). In Romans 6:4,
Paul encourages Gentile believers to enter the waters of
entering into the “Mikvah” (the waters of immersion) is
for all believers in the Messiah, Jew and Gentile alike.
For in Him we are all one! The Bride of Messiah, a Royal
Priesthood and a Holy Nation.
For the past
few days, we have been speaking about the subject of
“water baptism” referred to as “entering the Mikvah” in
the Hebrew language and in biblical Judaism. Of course,
Yeshua (Jesus) set the example for all of us when He,
Himself, was baptized in the Jordan River , that “all
righteousness might be fulfilled.” (Matthew 3:15) The same
scriptures also tell us that John the Baptist (Yochanan
the Immerser) was the one who baptized Yeshua, “the voice
crying out in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the
gospels give an account of John's ministry of water
baptism. But in order to establish what time of the year
it was, you have to read the accounting of Luke 3:1-6. It
reveals to us that John's ministry of calling people to
repentance for sin and baptizing them in the Jordan River
began in the beginning of the 15 th year of the reign of
Tiberius Caesar. In doing the research, I discovered that
the 15 th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar began in
the late summer of that year, around mid-to-late August.
This translates in the Hebrew calendar to the beginning of
the Hebrew month of Elul.
the beginning of the month Elul marks the beginning of a
designated season of repentance, called the season of
“T'shuva” in Hebrew; a month of spiritual preparation for
the coming high holy days of Rosh Hashanah (also known as
The Feast of Trumpets) and Yom Kippur (the Day of
Atonement). Both of these feasts carry a theme of judgment
and repentance of sin. John, as a son of a Jewish priest,
named Zecharias, in keeping with the designated season of
repentance and with the theme of Rosh Hashanah and Yom
Kippur, would most definitely be calling the people to
repentance at that time of year.
To add further
interest, according to the Jewish sages, the Messiah,
Himself, would appear at the end of the month of Elul or
on Rosh Hashanah, itself. According to John 1:29, as John
the Baptist was immersing sinners in the Jordan River, he
suddenly looked up and said, “Behold the Lamb of God who
takes away the sin of the world” as the Messiah, Himself,
what can we learn from this? First of all, that the length
of Yeshua's public ministry was not 3 years, but 3½ years,
beginning in the Fall and ending in the Spring, 3½ years
later when He died on Passover. We also learn that God has
designated “times and seasons” in the bible; His appointed
feasts which all point toward the Messiah Yeshua.
We also can
think about this one. If, indeed, Yeshua appeared for the
first time toward the end of Elul or even on Rosh
Hashanah, when the shofar is sounded over and over again,
is it possible that He will appear for the second time on
Rosh Hashanah, the “Feast of Trumpets” (Yom Teruah, in
Hebrew, “The Day of the Awakening Blast”) when there will
be a loud shout of an archangel from heaven, along with
the blast of the heavenly shofar, when we will see Yeshua
coming on the clouds of glory, to claim His bride?
For the past
few days, we've been looking at the subject of water
baptism which is called “Mikvah” in Hebrew.
We've seen the
connections between entering the waters of “Mikvah” and
the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, with Yeshua (Jesus) as
our prime example of this, when He was baptized in the
Jordan River and the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit,
descended on Him in the form of a “dove”.
God's commandments for all believers to enter the Mikvah
waters of immersion in many places in the B'rit Hadashah
(New Covenant), in Mark 16:16; John 3:5; Matthew 28:19;
and Romans 6:4 just to name at few. We've seen how all the
early Jewish believers in Yeshua went into the “Mikvah”
and received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38 -41).
seen how entering the Mikvah, clearly finds its roots in
biblical Judaism. Aaron and his sons “washed in the laver”
before ministering to the Lord (Exodus 30:17-21). Those
with infectious skin diseases were commanded to wash
themselves with water (Leviticus 14:8 & 9). According to
ancient Jewish wedding customs, a bride-to-be entered the
Mikvah, in preparation for a new life with her husband.
How appropriate this is for believers in Yeshua, who are
the Bride of Messiah and have entered into a new way of
life with Him, our Heavenly Bridegroom.
I suppose the
question may arrive for believers today, “How often can I
go into the waters of baptism?” or “What if I've been
baptized before? and “What if I've been baptized as an
infant?” These are all interesting questions; let me give
you my opinion.
seen how the Levitical priesthood went into the “Mikvah”
on a daily basis, before ministering to the Lord. Well, we
too, are a royal priesthood! When we were in Israel
recently, we visited Qumran , where the Essene community
lived for about 200 years between the 1 st Century B.C.
and 135 A.D. In other words, shortly before and after the
time when Yeshua lived on the earth, the Essenes were very
devout Jewish people, who entered the Mikvah on a daily
basis in preparation for prayer and for study of God's
word, even in preparation for meals.
believers, we reach “new stages” in our walk with the
Messiah Jesus, and new areas of ministry in serving Him.
The biblical pattern of entering the Mikvah is connected
with a time of “new beginnings”. It is also connected with
“dedication” and re-dedication” to the Lord. While it may
be “impractical” for us to enter the “Mikvah” (waters of
baptism) on a daily basis, (After all, we don't want to
“water the whole thing down”!), it is still very
appropriate to enter the “Waters of immersion” as often as
the “Spirit” leads us to do so!” Remember, water baptism
and the Holy Spirit are tied together!
“infant baptism” alone seems insignificant in and of
itself. It lacks any “conscious understanding” of why you
are being baptized. It does not offer any opportunity,
publicly and verbally, to confess your faith in the
Messiah Jesus, of how much you love Him and want to serve
Him all the days of your life.
nothing wrong with entering the waters of baptism over and
over again, as the Spirit leads. It is part of the
on-going life style of a born again, Spirit filled
believer in the Messiah Yeshua!
to this song from one of our CDs entitled in Hebrew,
“Elohay Ha K'vod”, which means the “Glory of God”! This CD
can be ordered on our “merchandise”