Rabbi Schneider - The Origins of Baptism
Welcome and Shalom, beloved ones. My name's Rabbi Schneider. This is a very important episode today of Discovering the Jewish Jesus 'cause I'm gonna be taking you inside the land of Israel. Specifically today we're going to the Jordan River. Now many people from around the world go to Israel just to be baptized in the Jordan River because they want to be baptized in the same body of water that Jesus was baptized in. But beloved, whether you're able to be baptized in the Jordan River physically or not, you're gonna be blessed by today's broadcast 'cause I'm gonna be teaching on the Hebraic roots of Christian baptism in Jesus's name. I know you're gonna be blessed, beloved. I love you, in Jesus's name. God bless you and Shalom.
Let's pray that as we go into the waters of the baptism, we call it in Hebrew the waters of the Mikvah, that you're gonna have an encounter with the living God, just as Jesus did when he went into the waters of the Mikvah and came out and the Spirit of the living God visibly descended upon him as a dove. And Jesus heard the Father speak to him saying, you are my beloved Son, and in you I am well pleased. So right now we just want to press in to go beyond just a ritual, to actually enter into an experience with the living God. Jesus received so much when he was baptized.
Father God, in Yeshua's name, right now we just ask you to come. You said if we would ask you for your Spirit, Father, that you would not give us a scorpion; that we should ask you for your Spirit and that you would give him to us liberally and without reproach. And I know, Father God, these that are gathered here with me today, Father, they're here anticipating. They're here expecting. Some have come all the way over to the land of Israel, Father God, thinking first about being baptized here in Jesus's name, in the same waters, King Jesus, that you were baptized in. So we come right now, Father God, with an anticipation of the presence of God. Father, I ask you right now to mark this moment in the lives of every son and daughter that's about to be immersed, Mikvahed, in the waters of baptism, in Jesus's name, Amen.
You know often times, beloved ones, when we think about a baptism, we think about it traditionally as a Christian ritual or rite of passage. But did you know that baptism actually comes out of Judaism. In Judaism we call it going into the waters of the Mikvah. And we know that baptism was important even before people began to become baptized in Jesus's name because we read in the gospels about John the Baptist who was baptizing in this very river, and how they were coming to John to be baptized, not in Jesus's name yet. They didn't know who Jesus was yet. But they were coming to John to be baptized for repentance. It was a baptism of repentance. But note that the fact was that baptism was already happening in Israel before people began to become baptized into Jesus. And by understanding what baptism meant to the Jews before Jesus's time, we can better understand and in a more full way understand what it means, beloved ones, to be baptized into Jesus.
In other words, by understanding the Hebrew roots or the Jewish roots of baptism, we can more fully comprehend what it means to be baptized in Jesus's name. So I want to begin with the very first book of the Bible. I want to go back to the Book of Genesis, the very first chapter and the very first verses in the book of we call in Hebrew, Bereshit, which means beginnings. We're gonna go to the Book of Genesis, chapter number 1. We're talking about the mystical nature, get this now, of water. The Scriptures tell us he that is baptized and believes in Jesus and repents shall be saved, but it was a baptism of water. So what is it that water symbolizes in Scripture? Once again, I'm going to the Book of Genesis, to the Book of Bereshit now, chapter number 1: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Now get this, the earth was formless and void, hear me now, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and hear me, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. So in the very beginning, all we have is God. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. In the beginning all there was was Elohim and the first thing that we see in Scripture is the Spirit of Elohim, the Spirit of God, listen now, moving over the water. So what do we see at the very beginning of creation? We see the Spirit of God and the water. That's all there is. Listen again. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of Elohim, the Spirit of God, get it, was moving over the surface of the water. So we go back to creation, all we see, the Spirit of God and the water; very important because we're trying to comprehend, what does it mean to be immersed in the water.
Let's continue on. Genesis, 1, verse number 6: Then Elohim, then God said, Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate, get it now, the waters from the water. So all we have at first is the Spirit and water. And then the Spirit of the Lord speaks and he says we're gonna separate the water. Then God said, verse 6: Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters. God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse. Again, very beginning of creation, the Spirit of God is swirling. The Spirit of God is moving over the deep. The Spirit of God is moving. Elohim is moving over the waters. And then he separates the waters. Continuing on, verse 9: Then Elohim, then God said, Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear.
So what did God do? God brought the water together and out of that water he brought forth the earth. Listen again: Then God said, Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let dry land appear, and it was so. God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas. So I want you to get this now. In the beginning, all we have is the Spirit of the Lord over the water. Then Father God separates the water through King Jesus, who's the Word, 'cause God created everything for the Word who is Jesus. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things that have been made came into being through him, through the Word. So the Father, through Jesus, separated the waters and then out of the water that was below, listen now, he brought forth the dry land and it became earth. The birth place of the world is water. The dry land appeared out of the water.
In other words, often times when we think of the earth, we think mostly of dry land. But in reality, the world, listen now, is 2/3 water. Most of the globe that we call planet earth is actually water. Two thirds of the globe are water. God separated the waters and he pulled the dry land out of the water, get this now, so that the water, listen, is the womb of creation. All there was in the beginning was the Spirit and the water. Then God brought forth the dry land out of the water, hear me now, so that the water was the womb of creation. Everything came out of the water. The dry land appeared out of the water. Think about this now. The dry land is birth from water. It's important because it has relevance and meaning when we think about you going into the water today, which is the womb of creation. And you're gonna come out of that water born again out of the water. Water is symbolic, beloved ones, of the Spirit of the living God.
As we continue, beloved ones, I want you to consider in Genesis, chapter 2, God now creates man and he places man in Eden. Now listen what happens in Eden, verse number 10 of chapter 2: Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from it, it divided and became four rivers. From Eden is flowing a river and this river that's flowing out of Eden is giving life to all creation. Listen again: Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers. Hear me now. All of the water that has watered the earth was flowing out of Eden through this one river that was then divided into four other rivers, and all the water that's flowing in rivers and channels, it begins in Eden.
Now hear me. There is no new water. The water that you're in right now, the water that I'm standing in, the water that we're gonna be baptized in, this water of the Mikvah, hear me, it's the same water that existed in Genesis, chapter 1. This is the same water that the earth was formed out of. We hear that man is mostly water. This water that we're in, this is the same water, beloved, that made Adam. No new water; you're going back into the water that existed at the very beginning of creation. You're going back into the womb of creation and you're gonna come out of that water re-born a new creation. The Hebrew Bible was written in Hebrew because the God of creation was communicating to the Jewish people, to the Israelites. But when Jesus came, Father's plan that he made to Abraham was fulfilled when God said to Abraham, Abraham, through your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. And so when Jesus came, Paul reveals to us that Jesus is that seed that God was proclaiming to Abraham, the seed that he blest the world through; that Jesus is the seed.
So now in the New Testament, Jesus has come and the time has come for Father to bless the entire world. Jesus is the seed that the blessing's going to come to the world through. So the New Testament now is written in Greek because Greek was the most common language of the ancient world of Jesus's day. So we're speaking of the Hebrew in the Hebrew Bible because Father God was communicating to the Hebrew, to the Jewish people, to the Hebrews. He spoke to them in their language. But when Jesus comes, it's time for him to speak to all the world. And so the New Testament's recorded in Greek because it was the most common language in the world. But the Greek Baptismo in the original that we have, is actually a derivative or comes from the concept of the Hebrew Mikvah. This is so important that we find here in Israel that when we visit the ancient synagogues that existed during Jesus's time, they would actually build the baptismal pool or the Mikvah that held the water before they'd actually build the structure of the synagogue; so important.
This is why the Scripture says, he that believes and is baptized shall be saved; because water is the womb of creation. When you go into the water, listen now, your sins are buried. Water, in order for it to be a Kosher baptismal pool, in order for it to be a Kosher baptism, the water has to be connected to the earth. In other words, you know, the baptismal tanks, I know when I was first saved back, you know, back 30 something years ago, somebody asked me, were you baptized yet? I didn't know anything about baptism. I just knew Jesus appeared to me in a vision, revealed himself to me and saved me. Started telling everybody about it, and this preacher said to me, have you been baptized? I said, no. He brought me over to somebody's house and baptized me in a bathtub, okay, you know, in a plastic bathtub, a fiberglass bathtub. That was great. But, but the, but the best way in terms if you want to get all the concept right, is to be baptized in water that's connected to the earth. Why? Because the water that's connected to the earth has symbolic meaning in the sense that when we go under the water, our sins are buried in the earth, okay.
When we go into the water, we're gonna immerse everybody today. We're not gonna sprinkle you 'cause a little dab won't do you. The experience that we have in Jesus, it's you know, a little sprinkle can't communicate it. It's a radical change, a radical baptism, so we go all the way under the water symbolizing that our old life is covered, it's passed away. Our sins are buried. And think about it, who's breathing when they go under the water? None of us are breathing. We stop breathing, like when you're dead. When you're dead you're not breathing. We go under the water. We stop breathing, symbolizing the death to our old life, the, the, the passing of our old life, the burying of our sins. We've died. The Bible says we, we, our lives are now hidden with things have become new. We become a new creation.
So we're gonna go under the water. Our sins are gonna be buried in the earth, just as a man is buried in the earth when he dies. And then we're gonna come out of the water raised as a new creation, alive now from the dead in Christ Jesus. I want to share with you a few other concepts taken from the Hebrew Bible that will make this point even fuller. When do we read or hear about baptism taking place in the Hebrew Bible? Well we read in the Hebrew Bible that when someone was unclean, when a woman was unclean, what would she do? She would go into the waters of a Mikvah, which is again the Hebrew equivalent of baptism. So we know that the baptism that we find rooted in the Hebrew Bible was tied in to cleansing. When you go into the waters of the Mikvah today, beloved ones, it's a symbol of your sins being washed away; you coming out cleansed, blameless, holy before God in Christ Jesus.
I want you to hear me when I say this. Don't ever measure yourself by your sin, 'cause if you measure yourself by your sin, you could only rise as high as your sin. No, Jesus wiped your sin away and gave you a brand new standard by which to see yourself to, the standard of his righteousness. Your sin was buried and washed away. You're no longer under it. You've been raised now to newness of life in his righteousness. So no matter what you've done in the past, don't let that have any weight over you anymore. What you believe in, how you handle yourself, how you handle your children or your grandchildren, it doesn't depend on who you are or what you've done. In Christ Jesus you've got a new life. He now is the measuring stick by which you see yourself through. You're righteous in him.
We also read in the Hebrew Bible that when the high priest of Israel was installed, they bathed him with water from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. It symbolized consecration, separation unto God. When you go into the water and come back out, beloved ones, it's also a symbol for you of consecration. You are now wholly separated unto God. You've got a new destiny. You've got a new future. You've got a new identity. You've got a new purpose. You've got a destiny in Christ Jesus now. The Apostle Paul said, it's not that he's attained it, but one thing he dies is he presses on to lay ahold of the one that laid ahold of him. When you come out of that water, sin no more. Let no condemnation be over you. And if you do sin as you're striving after God, praise God.
The Bible says, if we sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Christ Jesus the Righteous. We confess our sin. He cleanses us from all unrighteous and we keep on overcoming and we keep on pressing on. It's not an excuse to sin, but it's the recognition of that we've been made righteous in Christ. And those that really are striving after him, those that really have a heart for him, you're always righteous in him. And when we do fall, he cleanses us as soon as we confess it, and we just continue on up the mountain to higher and higher levels, Amen, of victory in him. Now as we come to the end of the Bible, we also find water. We find water in the New Jerusalem, in the heavenly Jerusalem. We read about it in the last chapter of the New Testament, Revelation, chapter 22. We have a description of the Spirit of God being present in heaven flowing from the throne of the Lord and from the Lamb.
Hear the Word of God. This is John speaking as he sees a vision of the New Jerusalem: Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from, get it now, the throne of God and of the Lamb. Now think about this, God places Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in the very beginning, right. And from the garden flowed a river that gave life to all creation. Now the same water that's here today is the water that flowed through that Garden of Eden. We see similar symbolism in the city of New Jerusalem. There is a river that flowed clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and from the Lamb. Water is a symbol of life. Water is a life-giving force. And we are re-connected to the life of God today, get this now, through the waters of the Mikvah. The waters of the Mikvah symbolize the life of Jesus. Jesus said, he that believes in me, rivers of living what, water, shall flow from his innermost being.
So when you go into the water today, I want you to experience and I want you to expect that you are being saturated, marinated, impregnated with the Holy Spirit; that your flesh is being zapped with the Spirit of the living God; that the life of Jesus is being supernaturally translated and transferred into you by faith as you go in, beloved ones, to the waters today of baptism, to the waters of the Mikvah. Now as we come out of the waters of the Mikvah today, I want you to think about this. When Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River, the same river that you're gonna be baptized in in just a second, he came out of the river. The Spirit of the living God visibly descended upon him as a dove. And then Jesus heard the voice of Father, and Father said to him this, you, he said to Yeshua, are my beloved Son, and in you I am well pleased. You are my beloved Son.
And I speak over every one of your lives today, in Jesus's name, on behalf of the Father, each one of you is chosen. Each one of you is a beloved son. Each one is a beloved daughter. And God delights in you because he created you in his own image, and he sees his beauty in you. He sees Christ Jesus in you, the hope of glory. And he wants you to receive as you come out of the waters of the Mikvah today, beloved ones, he wants you to receive the affirmation, listen to me, of his love for you; that you are so precious to him; that you are a child of God. And even as the Father said to Jesus, you are my beloved Son, and in you I'm well, well pleased, he's saying to each one of you today, you are my beloved child, and in you I am well pleased. Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto you that you are now a child of God, in Jesus's name.