Luke 1:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Please notice that there both, husband and wife, of the priesthood tribe of Levi and the heritage of Aaron.
The angel announces the birth of John and the mission that the priest of Aaron would fulfill. John was to turn men to god, and that is accomplished by presenting a message of warning and repentance, of the way to God.
Luk 1:12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.
16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
God inspires Zacharias to prophesy of his son John that he would prepare teach the knowledge of salvation, to provide the light of God’s Word to those in spiritual darkness and to turn the people to God through repentance from sin.
That is the mission of John and of Elijah and that is the true Gospel that we are commanded to preach; The way to full unity with the Father through reconciliation with him; by being called by the Father, repenting from sin, and a baptismal commitment to be loyal to God and to keep all of the commandments of God, doing the full will of the Father.
If we do these things then the GIFT of God’s spirit will be given to us; and by enduring all things for God and internalizing very nature of God through following and obeying the Father by the leading of God’s spirit; if we overcome and endure: We shall be fully reconciled to the Father and receive the GIFT of eternal life.
The KOG is only a very tiny part of the true Gospel; for what is a kingdom without citizens?
I tell you the truth: The Kingdom of God will NOT come unless the gospel of reconciliation to God is preached, and unless the mission of the latter day Elijah is accomplished.
For Elijah will preach repentance and Moses will lead the people into the promised land by turning the people to the commandments of God!
Mal 5:4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
The word “curse” here, means utter destruction.
1 Luk 1:67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,
69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:
71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;
73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.
John as a type of Elijah was to preach repentance and to turn the people to God.
What did Elijah do? He was an iconoclast who destroyed the false prophets and turned the people to God!
Will the latter day two prophets of God, as types of Moses and Elijah, confront the false teachers in the COG in this same manner, in order to turn the people back to God and a whole hearted zeal for all the commandments of God?
Perhaps a confrontation will come, but not necessarily unto death for God has prepared a great tribulation of correction for the deceived in the hope that by afflicting the flesh God might save the people spiritually.
1 Kings 18:17 And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?
18 And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim.
19 Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table.
20 So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.
21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
22 Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
23 Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under:
24 And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.
25 And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under.
26 And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.
27 And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.
28 And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.
29 And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.
30 And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down.
31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the Lord came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:
32 And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.
33 And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.
34 And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time.
35 And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.
36 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.
37 Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.
38 Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God.
40 And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
John was hidden until the day came that he should be revealed to Judah. And when his time was come, (which would have been when he attained the age of 30 the priests must attain the age of 30 before entering service. Also John was six months younger than Christ who was about 30 years old when he began his ministry) John began to preach repentance and baptism for the remission of sins.
John 1:19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.
25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?
26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;
27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Baptism: Origins in The Law
Where did John get the idea to baptize? What is baptism and what does baptism mean.
All God’s people have a direct command from Jesus Christ,
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
he commanded us to teach ALL things that HE taught; and by extension to do all things that he taught avoiding all hypocrisy; and to BAPTISE all peoples into the family of God!
This was the same commandment that Christ commanded all of his followers in physical Israel.
Is 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
Yet where is baptism and where did baptism come from?
In the law of sacrifice the ordinance of the red Heifer in Numbers 19:7 reveals that the roots of baptism are to be found in the commandments.
Nu 19:7 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 even.
8 And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even.
My subject today is not Clean and Unclean, nor the Red Heifer;, but baptism; and I want to point ut that the law required a person who became unclean to wash or bathe himself and then he would become clean at sunset [sunset being the beginning of a new day and marking a new beginning have been cleansed].
Lev 15:5 And whosoever toucheth his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
6 And he that sitteth on any thing whereon he sat that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
7 And he that toucheth the flesh of him that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
This command is repeated multiple times throughout Lev 15. O want to interject one point here; The law commands that a man avoid intercourse with his wife for a full seven days from the onset of menstruation. Eze 15:19-33, Eze 18:6.
Uncleanness is representative of sin, and cleanness is representative of purity of God and freedom for sin and the death and decay that sin brings.
When one became physically unclean; one must wash themselves and be unclean until the new day comes; then they shall be clean and pure once again.
John was sent before Christ to prepare his way, and he did this by teaching repentance for sin and a washing for the remission of sins. John began the process of revealing the spiritual aspects of the commandments.
Luk 1:76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
What did John preach? The true Gospel of warning and repentance!
Mat 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
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.
What is the mission of Elijah and of all MEN OF GOD?
Is 40:4 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness [crying what God has commanded we cry in Is 58:1], Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
The true Gospel is the message of warning and repentance that will prepare the nations to receive their messiah. It is NOT only a message about the person of Christ or about the Kingdom of God! It is the message of what Christ taught and of warning and repentance
When people respond to the warnings and repent committing themselves to [“Go and sin no more”.].
Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
Peter on that day of Pentecost, also commanded that the people be baptized for the remission of sin.
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
You see, Christ’s sacrifice opened the way to repentance and reconciliation with the Father, however it is our repentance and our baptismal commitment to sin no more; that enables the remission of sin! Christ’s sacrifice was for those who repent and only the repentant will be justified, having Christ’s sacrifice applied to them.
Romans 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
We must commit to sin no more and wash ourselves clean in the water of baptism; it i sonly then that the sacrifice of Christ will be applied to us.
Baptism: The New Covenant
I think most of our parents taught us that when we are dirty we should wash. Wash your hands! or its time to take a bath, are words that children often hear!
We live in a world where soaps and deodorants abound as people are very aware of cleanliness, soil and odours.
God used this physical need to base his commandments on the clean and unclean to teach us profound spiritual lessons.
God makes clear to us that he cannot tolerate any hint of sin! he declares that even being exposed to another persons uncleanness is anathema to him!
By separating a type of spiritual clean and uncleanness, God is teaching us:
Heb 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
We are to abhor the unclean thing and to despise all evil, not tolerate sin for the sake of organizational unity.
Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
True repentance means to abhor evil and all manner of spiritual filth. It means to realize that breaking God’s commandments even with small deliberate compromises is evil and abhorrent in God’s sight!
When we understand how very evil our conduct has been and we commit to making a profound change from being self-willed, into obeying and DOING the will of God; that is real wholehearted repentance. And as the physically unclean person must bathe himself completely, for in God’s law a little leaven leavens the whole lump [a little uncleanness makes the WHOLE person unclean and needs to be cleansed]; the spiritually unclean also needs to be washed completely to be made clean.
In the Bible there are two persons who had God’s spirit from the womb; Jesus Christ and John the Baptizer.
John came preaching repentance from the spiritual uncleanness of sin; and baptizing, washing, with water for the remission of sins.
What does the word baptize mean? It means to bathe, or to wash by immersion in water.
Strong’s Greek Lexicon
baptizō G 911
1) to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk)
2) to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one’s self, bathe
3) to overwhelm
This has nothing to do with the simple sprinkling of babes; which is NOT biblical baptism at all!
Baptism is a commitment by mature adults fully understanding that they are washing away their past sinful conduct and making a formal commitment to follow the Lamb withersoever he goeth, and to internalize and become ONE in full unity with the Father and Christ by DOING all that they require!
In reality the Father has called some to come to his son as a part of the son’s collective espoused bride, and baptism is the washing away of the past and the acceptance of and commitment to that espousal to Jesus Christ. Committing ourselves to obey and follow him only, and not to follow any OTHER; man, organization or spirit!
Jesus Christ then explained this washing away of sin further, revealing that when we are washed from sin, we must be then be joined into righteousness! We must “go and sin no more”. Paul then explained this further teaching that baptism is the death of sin which had enslaved and controlled us.
Romans 6 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Do the dead know any thing at all? If we be dead to sin we no longer have any part with sin, which is compromising or breaking any of God’s teachings or commandments!
If we compromise with God’s law or tolerate any sin or willful departure from the will of God; we are living in sin and not dead to sin at all! And willfully living in sin we are NOT dead to sin and have not truly repented of sin, nor are we dedicated to the Father and Christ!
Gal 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Becoming like Christ; living as Christ lived and doing as Christ did.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Baptism based on wholehearted repentance is the destruction of the bondage of sin and the death of the old sinful person, to rise as a NEW being with the past washed away, and now dedicated to obeying the Father as Christ obeyed the Father; and who is totally dedicated to keeping all of the commandments and teachings of Christ and the Father.
As the law of bathing after contact with the unclean thing washed one clean; baptism is the bathing and washing away of our uncleanness and sin.
Baptism is an expansion of the bathing to become clean; for now we are not only washed clean by our commitment to STOP sinning, we are reconciled to God the Father by making a commitment to become ONE with Jesus Christ!
Once we have been called of the Father and have truly repented, making a commitment by voluntarily washing away the sins of the past, and committing to keep all the commandments of the Father with passionate enthusiastic zeal, the sacrifice of Christ is applied to us and our High Priest Jesus Christ intercedes with us at the Father’s throne!
In response to the intercession of our high Priest; the Father send us the gift of his spirit to enable us to overcome all sin and to internalize his very nature, to become just like him; and to lead us into all truth!
We are to be immersed and washed clean from the uncleanness of our sins into the name of Jesus Christ. that is we are committing ourselves to follow and become like Christ in every way; even as a bride becomes one flesh with her husband we are to become of one spirit with Jesus Christ!
What was the nature and spirit of Jesus Christ?
Mat 22:36Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
The second great commandment being to love other human beings. The second commandment is ALWAYS secondary to the first great commandment.
What did Jesus teach us?
Mat 4:4But he [Jesus Christ] answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
After Christ had been sacrificed and then ascended to the Father to be made our High Priest; merely repenting and bathing according to the baptism of John and the Mosaic Covenant was no longer acceptable.
John’s baptizing was after the Mosaic Covenant as long as that covenant existed. When that covenant ended with the death of the Husband of Israel; the baptizing of John was no longer in effect!
People must now be baptized into the Father to whom they are reconciled by their repentance and the application of the sacrifice of Christ; they are to be baptized into Jesus Christ for they are making a marriage espousal commitment to become like HIM, to love him and serve him and his Father; will be baptized into the Holy Spirit, which is the very nature of the Father and Jesus Christ.
We are being baptized into a New Covenant and therefore must be baptized into those that we are covenanting with: just as Israel was baptized into the Mosaic Covenant in the Red Sea.
We are commended to baptize into the New Covenant of the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Mat 28:19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
John’s baptism after the Mosaic Covenant was no longer enough!
Acts 19:1And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Baptism is something that we chose to do as a repentance commitment of our God.
What if we die after repentance and before having the opportunity to be baptized?
Believe me: The Father KNOWS who he has called and he knows whether your repentance and commitment is rel. He understands if you are isolated without water or under duress. Try hard with your best effort and trust the Father and his tender mercies. Yet, do not be lax or neglectful of this extremely important necessity. Baptism IS a necessity to every person except those who perish before they have an opportunity to do so.
What if after doing our best to find and be baptized by a true man of God we later find that he was false or later apostatized?
Your baptism is an act and commitment between you and your God. The officiating person is only a help and is not a part of your commitment! As long as he baptizes in the name of the Father, Christ and the Holy Spirit; you have made your agreement with them, to love them and keep all of the teachings and commandments of the Father and the Son as led by their common spirit.
Who may baptize?
Technically any male in the faith can perform the act of baptizing; for the disciples of both John and Christ baptized, and all converted baptized persons are the disciples of Christ
However those disciples baptized people who were warned and well taught; ready to make a well informed commitment.
You should be baptized by an elder or deacon; or by any male at the direction of an elder or deacon who has counseled you and made certain that you fully understand what you are committing to and are truly wholeheartedly repentant and committed to keeping all of God’s commandments.
It is with the deepest sorrow that I must say that most of the COG ministry of today is NOT keeping their baptismal commitment themselves today by willingly compromising with God’s commandments and teachings others to do so.
IF we have been called by the Father and have responded with a heart felt repentance, and then made a baptismal commitment; then we shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
John 1:33 . . . but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
Coming: The Holy Spirit.