Although the O. T. and the Apocrypha, Josephus and Philo are silent with regard to proselyte baptism, it is certain that it existed among the Jews In the early Christian centuries and it is almost equally certain that the Jews could not have adopted it from the Christians. It is probable, therefore, that the baptism of John was an application to Jews of an immersion which, before that time was administered to proselytes from among the Gentiles. It was this adaptation of the rite to a new class of subjects and with a new meaning, which excited the inquiry and criticism of the Sanhedrin. We must remember, however, that the Lord?s Supper was likewise an adaptation of certain? portions of the old Passover service to a new use and meaning. See also Kitto, Bib. Cyclop., 3:593.
(b) In his own submission to John?s baptism, Christ gave testimony to the binding obligation of the ordinance ( <400313>Matthew 3:13-17). John?s baptism was essentially Christian baptism ( <441904>Acts 19:4), although the full significance of it was not understood until after Jesus? death and resurrection ( <402017>Matthew 20:17-23; Luke l2:50; <450603>Romans 6:3-6).
<400313> Matthew 3:13-17 ? ?Suffer it now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness?; <441904>Acts 19:4 ? ?John baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe on him that should come after him, that is, on Jesus?; <402018>Matthew 20:18, 19, 22 ? ?the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him unto the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify...Are ye able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?? <421250>Luke 12:50 ? ?But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!?
<450603> Romans 6:3, 4 ? ?Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the deed through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.?
Robert Hall, Works, 1:367-399, denies that John?s baptism was Christian baptism and holds that there is not sufficient evidence that all of the apostles were baptized. The fact that John?s baptism was a baptism of faith in the coming Messiah, as well as a baptism of repentance for past and present sin refutes this theory. The only difference between John?s baptism, and the baptism of our time, is that John baptized upon profession of faith in a Savior yet to come. Baptism is now administered upon profession of faith in a Savior who has actually and already come. On John?s baptism as presupposing faith in those who received it, see treatment of the Subjects of Baptism, page 950.
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