6 occurrences in 6 dictionaries

Reference: Baptism


The holy ordinance by which persons are admitted as members of the Christian community. It is administered in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and is a visible and public profession of faith in Christ and his salvation, of vital union with him, of the obligation to live a new life according to his precepts and in his service, and of the expectation of sharing in his glorious and heavenly immortality. It is not by any means to be regarded as a regenerating ordinance, though significant of regeneration. It was established in the Christian church by Christ and his apostles, and is binding on his followers to the end of time. The use of water in this ordinance is grounded in part on its qualities as the great element of purification, and on the rites of the ancient dispensation, in which "water and blood: were the divinely appointed symbols of moral renovation and atonement.


Baptisms in the sense of purifications were common in the Old Testament The "divers washings" (Greek "baptisms") are mentioned in Heb 9:10, and "the doctrine of baptisms," Heb 6:2. The plural" baptisms" is used in the wider sense, all purifications by water; as of the priest's hands and feet in the laver outside before entering the tabernacle, in the daily service (Ex 30:17-21); of the high priest's flesh in the holy place on the day of atonement (Le 16:23); of persons ceremonially unclean (Leviticus 14; 15; Le 16:26-28; 17:15; 22:4-6), a leper, one with an issue, one who ate that which died of itself, one who touched a dead body, the one who let go the scape-goat or buried the ashes of the red heifer, of the people before a religious festival (Ex 19:10; Joh 11:55). The high priest's consecration was threefold: by baptism, unction, and sacrifice (Ex 29:4; 40:12-15; Leviticus 8).

Baptism in the singular is used specially of the Christian rite. Jewish believers passed naturally from the Old Testament baptismal purifications, through John's transitional baptism, to Christian baptism and the subsequent laying on of hands, accompanied with the Holy Spirit (Ac 8:12,14-17). The spiritual sense of ceremonial baptisms was recognized in the Old Testament (Ps 26:6; 51:2,7; 73:13; Isa 1:16; 4:4; Jer 4:14; Zec 13:1.)

Ceremonial washings had been multiplied by tradition, before the Lord's coming (Mr 7:3-4). Even the Gentile Pilate washed his hands to symbolize his innocence of Jesus' blood. The Targum of Jonathan on Ex 12:44 is the earliest authority for the common notion that the Jews baptized male (besides circumcising them) and female proselytes. No notice of such a custom occurs in Philo, Josephus, or the Targum of Onkelos; the commonness of such ceremonial purifications makes it a probable one. In the 4th century A.D. it certainly prevailed. In the case of Jewish proselytes from Ishmaelites and Egyptians, who were already circumcised, some such rite would be needed. Probably it was at first merely the customary purificatory washing before the sacrifice offered in admitting the proselyte, whence Philo and Josephus would omit mentioning it as being usual at all sacrifices. When sacrifices ceased, after the destruction of the temple, the washing would be retained as a baptism of initiation into Judaism.

John's "baptism of repentance for the remission of sins" (Lu 3:3) was the pledge his followers took of their determination to separate themselves from the prevalent pollutions, as the needful preparation for receiving the coming Messiah, who remits the sins of His believing people. The "remission" was not present but prospective, looked for through Messiah, not through John (Ac 10:43). John's baptism was accompanied with confession (Mt 3:6), and was an act of obedience to the call to renounce all sin and believe in the coming Redeemer from sin. The universal expectation of the Messianic king "in the whole East" (says Suetonius, a pagan writer, Vespas. 4) made all ready to flock to the forerunner. The Jews hoped to be delivered from Rome's supremacy (Mal 3:1; 4:5-6).

The last of the prophets had foretold the coming of Elijah before the great day of the coming of the Lord, the Sun of righteousness, the messenger of the covenant. Elijah was to "turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers," namely, the disobedient children to the faith and fellowship of their pious forefathers, Abraham, Jacob, Levi, Elijah (Lu 1:17), lest Messiah at His coming" should smite the earth with a curse." The scribes accordingly declared, "Elias must first come." Jesus declared that John was this foretold Elias (Mt 11:13-14; 17:10-12). John's preaching was "Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand," the latter phrase referring to Da 2:44; 7:14. The Jews, as a nation, brought the "curse" on their land ("earth") by not repenting, and by rejecting Messiah at His first advent.

Their sin delayed the kingdom's manifestation, just as their unbelief in the wilderness caused the 40 years of delay in entering into their inheritance in Canaan. He brought blessing to those who accepted Him (John was the instrument in turning many to Him: Joh 1:11,36), and shall bring blessing to the nation at His second advent, when they shall turn to the Lord (Ro 11:5,26; Lu 13:35). John's baptism began and ended with himself; he alone, too, administered it. But Christ's baptism was performed by His disciples, not Himself, that He might mark His exclusive dignity as baptizer, with the Holy Spirit (Joh 4:2), and that the validity of baptism might not depend on the worth of the minister but on God's appointment. It continues to the end of this dispensation (Mt 28:19-20). John's was with water only; Christ's with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Lu 3:16).

The Holy Spirit in full measure was not given until Jesus' glorification at His ascension (Joh 7:39). Apollos' and John's disciples at Ephesus knew not of the Holy Spirit's baptism, which is the distinctive feature of Christ's (Ac 18:25; 19:2-6; compare Ac 1:5; 11:16). The outward sign of an inward sorrow for sin was in John's baptism; but there was not the inward spiritual grace conferred as in Christian baptism. Those of the twelve who had. been baptized by John probably received no further baptism until the extraordinary one by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Christian baptism implies grafting into fellowship or union with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; for the Greek expresses this (Mt 28:19): "Go ye, make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name (the revealed person) of the Father," etc.

John, being among the Old Testament prophets, not in the kingdom of God or New Testament church, preached the law and baptism into legal repentance and reformation of morals, and Messiah's immediate advent. Christian baptism is the seal of gospel doctrine and spiritual renewal. Jesus' own baptism by John was, Christ saith, in order "to fulfill all righteousness" (Mt 3:15). Others in being baptized confessed their sins; Jesus professed" all righteousness." He submitted, as part of the righteousness He undertook to fulfill, to be consecrated to His ministry in His 30th year, the age at which the Levites began their ministry (Lu 3:23), by the last of the Old Testament prophets and the harbinger of the New Testament, His own forerunner. At the same time that the outward minister set Him apart, the Holy Spirit from heaven gave Him inwardly the unction of His fullness without measure; and the Father declared His acceptance of Him as the sinners' savior, the anointed prophet, priest, and king (Joh 3:34; 1:16): "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Since God, against whom we have sinned, is satisfied with Him (and God cannot but be so, seeing it was the Father's love and justice which provided Him), so also may we. As the high priest's consecration was threefold, by baptism, unction, and sacrifice, so Jesus' (compare Ac 10:38) baptism began His consecration, the Holy Spirit's unction was the complement of His baptism, and His sacrifice fully perfected His consecration as our priest forevermore (Heb 7:28, margin). This is the sense of 1Jo 5:6; "this is He that came by water and blood;" by water at His consecration by baptism to His mediatorial ministry for us, when He received the Father's testimony to His Messiahship and His divine Sonship (Joh 1:33-34). Corresponding to His is our baptism of water and the Spirit, the seal of initiatory incorporation with Him (Joh 3:5).

Jesus came "by blood" also, namely, "the blood of His cross" (Heb 9:12). His coming "by water and blood," as vividly set forth in the issue of water and blood from His pierced side, was seen and solemnly attested by John (Joh 19:34-35). John Baptist came only baptizing with water; therefore was not Messiah. Jesus came, undergoing Himself the double baptism of water and blood, then baptizing us with the Spirit cleansing, of which water is the sacramental seal, and with His atoning blood once for all shed and of perpetual efficacy; therefore He Messiah. It is His shed blood which gives water baptism its spiritual significancy. We are b

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This term, which designates a NT rite, is confined to the vocabulary of the NT. It does not occur in the Septuagint, neither is the verb with which it is connected ever used of an initiatory ceremony. This verb is a derivative from one which means 'to dip' (Joh 13:26; Re 19:13), but itself has a wider meaning, = 'to wash' whether the whole or part of the body, whether by immersion or by the pouring of water (Mr 7:4; Lu 11:38). The substantive is used (a) of Jewish ceremonial washings (Mr 7:4; Heb 9:10); (b) in a metaphorical sense (Mr 10:38; Lu 12:50; cf. 'plunged in calamity'); and (c) most commonly in the technical sense of a religious ceremony of initiation.

1. The earliest use of the word 'baptism' to describe a religious and not merely ceremonial observance is in connexion with the preaching of John the Baptist, and the title which is given to him is probably an indication of the novelty of his procedure (Mt 3:1; Mr 8:28; Lu 7:20; cf. Mr 6:14,24). He 'preached the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins' (Mr 1:4), i.e. the result of his preaching was to induce men to seek baptism as an outward sign and pledge of inward repentance on their part, and of their forgiveness on the part of God. 'Baptism is related to repentance as the outward act in which the inward change finds expression. It has been disputed whether the practice of baptizing proselytes on their reception into the Jewish community was already established in the 1st cent.; probably it was. But in any case the significance of their baptism was that of ceremonial cleansing; John employed it as a symbol and a seal of moral purification. But, according to the Gospel record, John recognized the incomplete and provisional character of the baptism administered by him: 'I indeed have baptized you with water; but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost' (Mr 1:8).

2. Jesus Himself accepted baptism at the hands of John (Mr 1:9), overcoming the reluctance of the Baptist with a word of authority. That Jesus Himself baptized is nowhere suggested in the Synoptic Gospels, and is expressly denied in the Fourth Gospel (Joh 4:2); but His disciples baptized, and it must have been with His authority, equivalent to baptism by Himself, and involving admission to the society of His disciples. On the other hand, His Instructions to the Twelve and to the Seventy contain no command to baptize. Christian baptism was to be baptism 'with the Spirit,' and 'the Spirit was not yet given' (Joh 7:39). It is recorded in Acts (Ac 1:5) that the Risen Lord foretold that this promised baptism would be received after His departure, 'not many days hence.'

3. Christian baptism, although it finds a formal analogy in the baptism of John, which in its turn represents a spiritualizing of ancient Jewish ideas of lustration, appears as in its essential character a new thing after the descent of the Holy Spirit. It is a phenomenon 'entirely unique, and in its inmost nature without any analogy, because it rises as an original fact from the soil of the Christian religion of revelation' (von Dobsch

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Used figuratively to express the overwhelming sufferings which the Lord Jesus endured in order to accomplish the purpose for which He came to the earth; He was 'straitened' until that work was accomplished. Lu 12:50; Joh 12:27. When the sons of Zebedee asked to sit on the right and on the left of the Lord in His glory, He at once referred to the cup He had to drink, and asked if they could drink of that cup, and be baptised with the baptism He was to be baptised with. They, ignorant of the depths of suffering involved in the question, said they could. In one sense they should share in His sufferings

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It is well known that ablution or bathing was common in most ancient nations as a preparation for prayers and sacrifice or as expiatory of sin. In warm countries this connection is probably even closer than in colder climates; and hence the frequency of ablution in the religious rites throughout the East. Baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost is the rite or ordinance by which persons are admitted into the Church of Christ. It is the public profession of faith and discipleship. Baptism signifies--

1. A confession of faith in Christ;

2. A cleansing or washing of the soul from sin;

3. A death to sin and a new life in righteousness. The mode and subjects of baptism being much-controverted subjects, each one can best study them in the works devoted to those questions. The command to baptize was co-extensive with the command to preach the gospel. All nations were to be evangelized; and they were to be made disciples, admitted into the fellowship of Christ's religion, by baptism.

Mt 28:19

It appears to have been a kind of transition from the Jewish baptism to the Christian. The distinction between John's baptism and Christian baptism appears in the case of Apollos,

Ac 18:26-27

and of the disciples at Ephesus mentioned

Ac 19:1-6

We cannot but draw from this history the inference that in Christian baptism there was a deeper spiritual significance.

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BAPTISM, from the Greek word ???????, is a rite or ceremony by which persons are initiated into the profession of the Christian religion; or, it is the appointed mode by which a person assumes the profession of Christianity, or is admitted to a participation of the privileges belonging to the disciples of Christ. It was by this mode that those who believed the Gospel were to be separated from unbelievers, and joined to the visible Christian church; and the rite accompanying it, or washing with water, was probably intended to represent the washing away, or renouncing, the impurities of some former state, viz. the sins that had been committed, and the vicious habits that had been contracted; and to this purpose it may be observed, that the profession of repentance always accompanied, or was understood to accompany, the profession of faith in Christ. That our Lord instituted such an ordinance as baptism, is plain from the commission given to the Apostles after his resurrection, and recorded in Mt 28:19-20. To this rite there is also an allusion in Mr 16:16; Joh 3:5; Ac 2:41; 8:12,36-38; 22:16. The design of this institution, which was to express faith in Christ on the part of those who were baptized, and to declare their resolution of openly professing his religion, and cultivating real and universal holiness, appears from Ro 6:3-4; 1Pe 3:21; Eph 5:26; and Tit 3:5. We find no account of baptism as a distinct religious rite, before the mission of John, the forerunner of Christ, who was called the "Baptist," on account of his being commanded by God to baptize with water all who should hearken to his invitation to repent. Washing, however, accompanied many of the Jewish rites, and, indeed, was required after contracting any kind of uncleanness. Also, soon after the time of our Saviour, we find it to have been the custom of the Jews solemnly to baptize, as well as to circumcise, all their proselytes. As their writers treat largely of the reasons for this rite, and give no hint of its being a novel institution, it is probable that this had always been the custom antecedent to the time of Moses, whose account of the rite of circumcision, and of the manner of performing it, is by no means circumstantial. Or, baptism, after circumcision, might have come into use gradually from the natural propriety of the thing, and its easy conformity to other Jewish customs. For if no Jew could approach the tabernacle, or temple, after the most trifling uncleanness, without washing, much less would it be thought proper to admit a proselyte from a state so impure and unclean as Heathenism was conceived to be, without the same mode of purification. The antiquity of this practice of proselyte baptism among the Jews, has been a subject of considerable debate among divines. It is strenuously maintained by Lightfoot. Dr. John Owen considers the opinion, that Christian baptism came from the Jews, as destitute of all probability. On the other hand, Mr. Wall has made it highly probable, to say the least, from many testimonies of the Jewish writers, who without one dissenting voice allow the fact, that the practice of Jewish baptism obtained before and, at, as well as after, our Saviour's time. There is also a strong intimation, even in the Gospel itself, of such a known practice among the Jews in the time of John the Baptist, Joh 1:25. The testimonies of the Jewish writers are of the greater weight, because the practice, reported by them to have been of so ancient a date, did still remain among them; for if it had not been of that antiquity to which it pretends, viz. before the time of Christ, it is not likely that it would ever have become a custom among the Jews afterward. Would they begin to proselyte persons to their religion by baptism in imitation of the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth, whom they held accursed? And yet if this proselyte baptism were adopted by the Jews since the time of Christ, it must have been a mere innovation in imitation of Christians, which is not very likely. This ceremony is performed by immersion in the oriental churches. The practice of the western churches is, to sprinkle the water on the head or face of the person to be baptized, except in the church of Milan, in whose ritual it is ordered, that the head of the infant be plunged three times into the water; the minister at the same time pronouncing the words, "I baptize thee in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost;" importing that by this ceremony the person baptized is received among the professors of that religion which God, the Father of all, revealed to mankind by the ministry of his Son, and confirmed by the miracles of his Spirit.

2. It is observable that the baptismal form, above cited from St. Matthew, never occurs in the same words, either in the book of the Acts, or in any of the Epistles. But though the form in St. Matthew never appears elsewhere, the thing intended thereby is always implied. There are many ceremonies delivered by ecclesiastical writers, as used in baptism, which were introduced after the age of Justin Martyr, but which are now disused; as the giving milk and honey to the baptized, in the east; wine and milk, in the west, &c. They also added unction and the imposition of hands. Tertullian is the first who mentions the signing with the sign of the cross, but only as used in private, and not in public worship; and he particularly describes the custom of baptizing without it. Indeed, it does not appear to have been used in baptism till the latter end of the fourth or fifth century; at which time great virtue was ascribed to it. Lactantius, who lived in the beginning of the fourth century, says the devil cannot approach those who have the heavenly mark of the cross upon them as an impregnable fortress to defend them; but he does not say it was used in baptism. After the council of Nice, Christians added to baptism the ceremonies of exorcism and adjuration, to make evil spirits depart from the persons to be baptized. They made several signings with the cross, they used lighted candles, they gave salt to the baptized person to taste, and the priest touched his mouth and ears with spittle, and also blew and spat upon his face. At that time also baptized persons wore white garments till the Sunday following. They had also various other ceremonies; some of which are now abolished, though others of them remain in the church of Rome to this day.

3. The Quakers assert, that water baptism was never intended to continue in the church of Christ any longer than while Jewish prejudices made such an external ceremony necessary. They argue from Eph 4:5, in which one baptism is spoken of as necessary to Christians, that this must be a baptism of the Spirit. But from comparing the texts that relate to this institution, it will plainly appear that water baptism was instituted by Christ in more general terms than will agree with this explication. That it was administered to all the Gentile converts, and not confined to the Jews appears from Mt 28:19-20, compared with Ac 10:47; and that the baptism of the Spirit did not supersede water baptism appears to have been the judgment of Peter and of those that were with him; so that the one baptism spoken of seems to have been that of water; the communication of the Holy Spirit being only called baptism in a figurative sense. As for any objection which, may be drawn from 1Co 1:17, it is sufficiently answered by the preceding verses, and all the numerous texts, in which, in epistles written long after this, the Apostle speaks of all Christians as baptized and argues from the obligation of baptism, in such a manner as we can never imagine he would have done, if he had apprehended it to have been the will of God that it should be discontinued in the church. Compare Ro 6:3, &c; Col 2:12; Ga 3:27.

4. Baptism, in early times, was only administered at Easter and Whitsuntide, except in cases of necessity. Adult persons were prepared for baptism by abstinence, prayer, and other pious exercises. It was to answer for them, says Mosheim, that sponsors, or godfathers, were first instituted in the second century, though they were afterward admitted also in the ba

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