Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
July 7, 1997
Last Updated :
March 21, 2018
"Our Hearts Sprinkled" And "Bodies Washed With Pure Water", Ordination Of Old Testament Levitical Priesthood, Jesus Is Ordained God's Final High Priest, God's Kings And Priests, Blood And Water Sign, Judiciously Compare Verse With Verse, Spiritual Cleansing By The Water Of God's Word, Holy Spirit Is God's Living Water Which Heals And Gives Spiritual Life, Samaritan Woman At The Well, Distraction Of Temple Worship At Jerusalem, Pentecost: Disciples Filled With Holy Ghost, Rivers Of Living Water Into All The World, God Abolishes The Old To Make Room For The New, Maturation And Spiritual Growth Of The Early Church, Modern Christianity And Its Stagnant Rituals, Church Bondage Tactics, How Many Baptisms?
Continuing our discussion from part seven, you may have noticed that in Hebrews chapter ten, Paul wrote "and our bodies washed with pure water". Here again we see a direct reference to water. First he writes "our hearts sprinkled", and then we see that not only are our hearts sprinkled, but our entire "bodies washed with pure water". Now, I am sure that upon reading that verse, some people will probably say, "Aha! See! So how can you say that the Apostle Paul did not believe in and practice water baptism?".
My friends, again, it is obvious to me that the Apostle Paul is not talking about water baptism in the verse. In fact, he offers a clue of this with the phrase "our hearts sprinkled". There is obviously no physical way to sprinkle one's heart with water, so he must mean something else. If you take the time to read the entire chapter, as well as the surrounding chapters, you will come to realize that Paul is writing very much on a spiritual level. He is showing his readers the clear contrast between Old Testament Levitical rituals, and what Christ accomplished on the Cross. He is demonstrating how everything moved from a physical plane to a spiritual plane, once Christ died on the Cross.
In fact, while some of you may not be aware of it -- after all, we are all learning new things as time goes on -- that is precisely what Paul is doing in the aforementioned verse as well. He is actually pointing to the ordination of the Levitical priesthood in the Old Testament, as we see here:
"And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and cleanse them. And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them: SPRINKLE WATER OF PURIFYING UPON THEM, and let them shave all their flesh, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean. Then let them take a young bullock with his meat offering, even fine flour mingled with oil, and another young bullock shalt thou take for a sin offering. And thou shalt bring the Levites before the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt gather the whole assembly of the children of Israel together: And thou shalt bring the Levites before the LORD: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites: And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the LORD. And the Levites shall lay their hands upon the heads of the bullocks: and thou shalt offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, unto the LORD, to make an atonement for the Levites. And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the LORD. Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine."
Numbers 8:5-14, KJV
So you see, once again it is a clear example of a physical Old Testament ritual being transferred to, or transformed into, a spiritual reality through Christ. The Apostle Paul is actually contrasting the ordination of the Levitical priesthood, with Jesus Christ being ordained as the final High Priest of the New Testament era, and the New Covenant between God and man. This is easily confirmed by verses such as the following:
"Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."
Hebrews 2:17, KJV
"Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;"
Hebrews 3:1, KJV
"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
Hebrews 4:14-15, KJV
"Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."
Hebrews 6:20, KJV
"Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;"
Hebrews 8:1, KJV
"But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;"
Hebrews 9:11, KJV
"And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
Revelation 1:6, KJV
"And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth."
Revelation 5:10, KJV
"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."
Revelation 20:6, KJV
You see, even Believers themselves are transformed into kings and priests in God's wonderful Kingdom, so it is all a very spiritual process, with nothing to do with the flesh or with water baptism. As I have clearly demonstrated once again, if instead of just cherry picking one or two verses in order to try to support our beliefs, we invest some serious time in judiciously comparing Scripture with Scripture, hopefully, we will eventually arrive at the truth, if we are truly willing in our hearts, and are not blinded by the misguided doctrines of men.
So we have seen how a number of Old Testament rituals which were related to the sprinkling of blood or water were in fact transferred to Christ on the Cross. In fact, I am convinced that even as Jesus died on the Cross, He gave us another very physical sign to demonstrate how these Old Testament blood and water rituals were all fulfilled in Himself and were thus abolished, just like the necessity of the Passover lamb, the Levitical priesthood, etc. In the Gospel of John we find this one small verse, but I think it says a lot:
"But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water."
John 19:34, KJV
Now, technically speaking, we can say that this just resulted from the fact that Jesus died in large part from asphyxiation when His lungs filled with fluid, because He could no longer hold Himself upright. Crucifixion is a very terrible way to die. However, young Apostle John was standing right there at the foot of the Cross with Mary -- Jesus' mother -- and a few other people. It appears that John apparently understood the spiritual significance of what he saw that day when blood and water came forth from Jesus' wound. Thus, he later wrote in his first Epistle:
"Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one."
1 John 5:5-8, KJV
To reiterate, I am convinced that in the aforementioned verse -- Hebrews 10:22 -- the Apostle Paul is really talking about a spiritual cleansing, a spiritual baptism, and a spiritual change of mind, heart and attitude. In fact, the Bible even tell us precisely what this cleansing agent -- or spiritual water -- actually is. Consider the following verses which leave no room for doubt:
"BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word."
Psalms 119:9, KJV
"Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you."
John 15:3, KJV
You see, it is God's Word -- and not water baptism -- which really reaches down into the depths of our minds, hearts and spirits and cleanses us. In the very same Epistle to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul tells us this very thing, as we see by the following verse:
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, KJV
Returning to King David for a moment, that is why after he had sinned before the Lord, and had been exposed and rebuked by the Prophet Nathan, David also pleaded with the Lord to be cleansed of his sins, and to be given a clean heart, when he prayed the following:
"Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."
Psalms 51:2, 10, KJV
This goes hand in hand with what the Lord said through His Prophet Ezekiel, when He pleaded with the Jews who had been taken captive to Babylon, as a result of their sins:
"And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:"
Ezekiel 11:19, KJV
"Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"
Ezekiel 18:31, KJV
"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh."
Ezekiel 36:26, KJV
It is the sprinkling of God's Word in our hearts which both cleanses, saves and heals us. It is all a spiritual process of repentance, faith and belief which has absolutely nothing to do with the outdated practice of water baptism. It seems to me that the Scriptural evidence is just too overwhelming to deny, unless one just does not want to accept the Truth. If you happen to be one who is still hung up on the necessity of water baptism, this is your chance for liberation. Will you take it, or will you continue to be weighed down by the unnecessary traditions of the past?
So there is no denying that God's Word is spiritual water. It is the true "water" of the Spirit. This is what it is all about. This is what renews us. This is what regenerates us. This is what transforms us. This is what cleanses us, and not water baptism, exactly as Peter was telling us earlier. Jesus Himself emphasized this same truth. He was and is the living Word of God, in whom the Spirit of the Father dwelt without measure. His words are spirit, and they give life, because they are Living Water which quench the soul, and not just the flesh. Furthermore, Jesus promised to give this same Living Water of the Spirit to His followers, as we see by the following verses:
"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"
John 7:38-39, KJV
"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
John 6:63, KJV
In studying the Gospels, we see how time and time again, Jesus healed people of diseases and cast out evil spirits through His spoken Word. His spoken Word cleansed and renewed them. They not only received spiritual Salvation through belief in His words when He said that He was the Messiah, but they also received salvation and healing of their broken, diseased and possessed bodies as well. This concept is so big I can't begin to explain it in just a few words. The Word is Spirit. The Word -- or Spirit -- is what creates life, gives life, maintains life, and heals life. "In the beginning was the Word". "All things were made by Him". The Word is the Living Water of the Spirit. The Lord tried to explain this very same concept to the woman at the well in John chapter four. He said in part:
". . . If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water . . . Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life . . . Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
John 4:10, 13-14, 21-24, KJV
Similar to Jesus' own Disciples, and like many people today as well, this woman was trying to understand things with her carnal mind. She was so hung up on the physical, including physical worship in a physical Temple at Jerusalem. As you may recall, the Disciples were also hung up on and in awe of that very same Temple. It had become a distraction with its false, self-righteous religion, and oppression of the poor. That is why the Lord had to finally destroy it altogether in 70 A.D.
It wasn't until after Jesus' departure from this Earth that the Disciples really began to see and understand with their eyes of the Spirit. As we have seen, for a while they were also hung up on a physical thing called water baptism, just like many churches today. However, as we all know, it was only about a week after Jesus' Ascension into Heaven that His Acts 1:8 prophecy was fulfilled to the letter, and they were all zapped with the amazing fire of the Holy Spirit, as we see by the following group of verses:
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth . . . And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost . . ."
Acts 1:8, 2:1-4, KJV
And what did Jesus say in John 7? "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." As we continue to read in Acts chapter two, we discover that this is exactly what happened. That Living Water began to flow like crazy, and some of the Apostles' detractors even thought that they were crazy, or at least really drunk:
". . . and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?"
Acts 2:4-12, KJV
Out of their bellies, out of their souls, out of the very seat of their spirits, flowed the Words which give life; and thousands were saved because of it. Today that Living Water continues to flow all around the world. The words they spoke, just like the words we speak today, are Spirit, and they are life, because they give spiritual life to those who believe in them. When a person chooses to accept the Truth which the Spirit testifies to their hearts, they are in fact cleansed and renewed by the Water of the Spirit, by the very Word of God in which they have chosen to believe. At that point, they are baptized, or sealed, by the Spirit of redemption.
As I explained in the early part of this series, God has a clear record of discarding the old when it no longer serves His purposes. I have presented you with a number of examples in this series. Of course, the largest example of all is the fact that the old system of animal blood sacrifices -- that is, the Old Testament, or the Old Covenant -- was abolished and completely replaced by a New Testament, or New Covenant, when Jesus offered up Himself as God's final Passover Lamb.
Having said that, we New Testament Christians are not Jews. We are not the disciples of John the Baptist. We do not need or require to be spiritually prepared for the coming of Jesus through a water baptism of repentance. Jesus has already come and we know who He is. In those days, Jesus had not come yet; and even after He did arrive, it took a while for many people to discover who He was. They did not have mass transportation or mass communication as we do today. We have the advantage of time and history on our side whereas they did not back then. We have already received the full message of Salvation. All we have to do is either accept it or reject it. What was only known to them verbally back then has been in print for centuries. We know we are sinners. We know we need a Savior. We don't need a Prophet or a priest or a minister baptizing us with water in order to obtain our Salvation. Water never truly saved anyone anyway. It is the acts of faith, belief and verbal confession which save us.
Now, it is commendable that some churches endeavor to follow the Scriptures as closely as they can. It is also commendable that they endeavor to follow the pattern of the Early Church to the best of their understanding. However, I think some of them are neglecting to see that the Early Church did not just stand still. It continued to grow spiritually and accept new truth as the Lord revealed it to them. Peter obviously saw it and eventually accepted it. The Apostle Paul likewise later came to understand the lack of necessity for water baptism as demonstrated by the previous verses.
I wonder if perhaps the reason why Peter and Paul continued for a while with water baptisms is simply because they knew that they were dealing with spiritual children. After all, as we read in the Gospels and in the Book of Acts, they both made quite a few serious mistakes of their own when they were young in the faith. Perhaps they realized that it would take time for others to come to accept this new truth, just as it had taken them time. I am reminded of some things which both Peter and Paul wrote in their Epistles which touch on this issue of spiritual growth and maturity, and leaving behind the rudimentary elements of the faith. I shared part of this with you earlier in this series:
"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 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. Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit."
Hebrews 5:12-6:3, KJV
"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
1 Corinthians 13:11, KJV
"Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men."
1 Corinthians 14:20, KJV
"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ."
Ephesians 4:13-15, KJV
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving."
Colossians 2:6-7, KJV
"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:"
1 Peter 2:2, KJV
"Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."
2 Peter 3:17-18, KJV
So, if the leadership of the Early Church was willing to move on to greater spiritual truths, why haven't the modern churches who continue to keep their congregations in bondage through the practice of water baptism and other established rituals? Are they afraid they might lose their members if they don't have something to keep them under their thumb? Weekly holy communion is the same kind of bondage trip, but perhaps I will get to that in another article one of these days. Let me just say that Jesus never said that communion was to become a weekly established ritual like so many other stagnant rituals practiced by modern Christianity. All He said was, "this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me." In other words, "As often, or whenever you share the bread and wine -- it was wine, not grape juice -- think of what I have done for you."
This whole robotic regime of repetitive actions like weekly communions, weekly confessions, repeating the rosary, etc., really amounts to a works trip. It is simply trying to save ourselves through repeated good works which don't amount to anything. If we do all of these things and then go out and continue to live our same selfish lives, I don't think these practices mean hoot to God. All these things do is make you dependent on your particular church for your Salvation. They tell you that if you don't belong to them and participate in these practices, you are not even saved, and you are a child of the devil. I know some of you reading this know exactly what I am talking about it, because you have been, and maybe you still are, under the same bondage.
Anyway, the main point to consider is this: Because of our current knowledge, it seems to me that perhaps being saved and sealed by the Spirit has become a one-step operation. In other words, we do not have to receive the water baptism of John; then be baptized a second time in the name of the Lord; and then have a laying on of hands to receive the Holy Ghost. Seriously. If some of these legalistic churches really want to get technical about it, and follow the letter of the law, then according to the Scriptures I have presented, it sounds like maybe they really need to perform two or three different baptisms, just to make certain that they are really saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. I know. It is very confusing. We need to remember what the Apostle Paul wrote concerning the simplicity that is in Christ. I shared these same verses with you in part three of this series:
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him . . . For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-15, KJV
Please go to part nine for the conclusion of this series.
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