Part One: Why is baptism a sign of the coming Messiah?

In the end of days a personage appeared in the wilderness at the Jordan River baptizing Israel to cleanse them from their sins.

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

Mar 1:1  The beginning of the Good News of יהושע Messiah, the Son of Elohim. 

Mar 1:2  As it has been written in the Prophets, “See, I send My messenger before Your face, who shall prepare Your way before You,

Mar 1:3  a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of יהוה, make His paths straight.’ ” 

Mar 1:4  Yoḥanan came immersing in the wilderness and proclaiming an immersion of repentance for the forgiveness of sins

Mar 1:5  And all the country of Yehuḏah, and those of Yerushalayim, went out to him and were all immersed by him in the Yarděn River, confessing their sins. 

Mar 1:6  And Yoḥanan was clothed with camel’s hair and a leather girdle around his waist, and eating locusts and wild honey. 

Mar 1:7  And he proclaimed, saying, “After me comes One who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loosen. 

Mar 1:8  “I indeed did immerse you in water, but He shall immerse you in the Set-apart Spirit.”

The religious leaders in Israel of the day had their idea of what the meaning of baptism would be and what John the Baptist’s influence was on the people according to their understanding of the Scriptures.

The Testimony of John the Baptist

Joh 1:19  Now this was the witness of Yoanan when the Yehuḏim sent from Yerushalayim priests and Lěwites to ask him, “Who are you?” 

Joh 1:20  And he confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” 

Joh 1:21  And they asked him, “What then, are you Ěliyahu?” So he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 

Joh 1:22  Therefore they said to him, “Who are you, so that we give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” 

Joh 1:23  He said, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of יהוה,’ Isa_40:3 as the prophet Yeshayahu said.” 

Joh 1:24  And those sent were of the Pharisees, 

Joh 1:25  and they asked him, saying, “Why then do you immerse if you are not the Messiah, nor Ěliyahu, nor the Prophet?” 

Joh 1:26  Yoḥanan answered them, saying, “I immerse in water, but in your midst stands One whom you do not know, 

Joh 1:27  the One coming after me, who has become before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loosen.” 

Joh 1:28  This took place in Běyth Anyah beyond the Yarděn, where Yoḥanan was immersing. 

Why would the priests and Lěvites think that John is someone significant because he was baptising? Do we find any old testament Scripture reference to such notions?

In the book of Malachi the poor spiritual state of Israel before Messiah return is prophesied. Religion of the day had a totally wrong Idea of the Messiah’s image in Scripture and thus their idea of righteousness and the knowledge of Elohim was also not on point.

The Messenger of the Elohim

Mal 2:17  You have wearied יהוה with your words, and you have said, “In what way have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the eyes of יהוה, and He is delighting in them,” or, “Where is the Elohim of right-ruling?”

The messenger send ( John) would correct the wrong perceptions created by the religious bodies of the day about righteousness (basic right and wrong – the teaching of the law of Moshe showing what Elohim perceives as righteousness) and reveal the true nature of Elohim. Without warning and unforeseen – The Messiah will appear in His place of worship. This personage that will appear will be the one that brought them into the promised land in the days of old. He was the One that went before them in the pillar of cloud and subjected Israel’s enemies. The passage is spoken by (YHWH tzeva’ot) the name of Yeshua as General of the armies of Heaven. His goal in this instant is to subjugate the enemy of Israel, namely death.

Mal 3:1  “See, I am sending My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me. Then suddenly the Master you are seeking comes to His Hěal (Tempel), even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. See, He is coming,” said יהוה of hosts. 

Yeshua sends His messenger (John) to prepare the way to His House of worship. The passage refers to the importance of the Torah of Moshe. Would His people move away from His instructions for life? How without the teaching of the Torah would they know what Elohim’s righteousness restored would be. What it means in plain language is that we would not know but by the Torah revelation what Elohim would want His special covenantal people to do in righteousness restored.

Mal 4:4  “Remember the Torah of Mosheh, My servant, which I commanded him in orě for all Yisra’ěl – laws and right-rulings. 

The expectancy was that Eliyahu would return from heaven as he was taken by fiery chariot with sign and wonder. Big show and pomp would not announce the Kingly coming of the Messiah. How wrong they were! In fact the mainstream religious bodies leaders of the day did not recognise the author of life Him but even persecuted Him.

Mal 4:5  “See, I am sending you Ěliyah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of יהוה.

The most difficult task is given to the messenger namely to bring Israel to repentance. The Hebrew term is teshuvah. In turning from the old ways of death and sin, destruction to Elohim’s way of life, harmony and forgiveness. How impossible this task would be without the involvement of the spiritual entity called The Spirit that calls to individuals to test their willingness to follow this difficult way of life to Elohim and changing not only our most innermost thoughts, desires and perceptions but also our physical actions in portraying our new found identities as citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom.

If there is no righteous remnant of Israel left on earth all life would be extinguished through the judgements of Elohim to cleanse the earth by His intense sense of righteous judgement.  

Mal 4:6  “And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with utter destruction (extermination).” 

In the next part of our study series we take a look at the origin of baptism to find a better idea of what is entails.