Why should you be baptized? When should you be baptized? Should you be immersed when baptized? In Whose Name should you be baptized, or does it matter? These are some of the questions we will answer in the following pages. May our Heavenly Father open your eyes and your heart to hear truth through His words.
We accept Yahshua the Messiah as our Savior, because we read in Acts 4:12, There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. When we go to Acts 2:38, we read, Be baptized every one of you for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
To believe in the Messiah means, or should mean, we believe in the things He said. Yahshua said things like: Unless you repent, you will perish (Luke 13:3, 5). Repentance is not, however, what saves us. It is only the shed blood of Yahshua the Messiah that can wash away our sins. But without being baptized for the remission of sins, that precious blood would not apply to us.
| Present-Day Jordan River ↑
|And Yahshua, being full of the Holy Spirit, returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness (Matthew 4:1).|
Believing and repenting are very important, but baptism is often completely ignored or is only mentioned as something one can do when they find the time. Many times, people are baptized for reasons other than the one given by the Messiah—for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38).
Matthew 28:19 contains the "Great Commission:" Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. From these Scriptures, we conclude that we must be baptized into the Name of Yahshua the Messiah. Just as we have been taught by the Scripture to be obedient unto Yahweh's Word, we are also taught the importance of being baptized with water for the remission of sins in the Name of Yahshua the Messiah.
But are we aware of the significance of baptism? Or is it just another ritual or initiation rite into a group of "believers"? In Romans 6:3, Paul tells us, Know you not, that so many of us that were baptized into Yahshua the Messiah were baptized into His death? Who was it that died on the tree for our sins? We know that He was Yahshua the Messiah. That is why we declare unto the world that all must be baptized into the Name of Yahshua for the remission of sins. Romans 6:4 goes on to say that, as we are buried with Yahshua by baptism into death, as Messiah was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Does that sound as if we should be baptized merely because of a ritual? Newness of life should be within every believer. Baptism is an act of faith in our willingness to be at one with Yahshua and His resurrection, as well as in His death. Therefore, we are commanded to put off the things of the flesh to become a new creation.
Many who are baptized experience a jubilation of being truly clean. Your body feels radiant after you have cleaned up. A convert who comes into the truth, and is baptized into Yahshua's Name, has that same cleansed and new feeling, in a spiritual sense.
Every case of baptism recorded in the New Testament followed a preaching of the Good News and a belief in the truths taught. The instance of Philip and the Ethiopian is a clear one. After Philip had preached about the truths of Yahshua to him, they came to the water and the eunuch said, See here is water; what hinders me to be baptized (Acts 8:36)? Philip answered, If you believe with all your heart, you may. The Ethiopian answered, I believe that Yahshua the Messiah is the Son of Yahweh (Acts 8:37).
Notice that Philip preached the Good News first, to which the eunuch responded by expressing a desire to be baptized. Baptism was only administered after an expressed confession of a belief in the things which Philip had taught.
Another instance is found in the same chapter, which records the work of Philip at Samaria. In verse 12 we read, When they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the Kingdom of Yahweh, in the Name of Yahshua Messiah, they were baptized, both men and women.
Later, when Paul and Silas were miraculously delivered from prison at Philippi, the jailer perceived the hand of Yahweh at work and asked them, Sirs, what must I do to be saved (Acts 16:30)? The record continues, And they said, "Believe that Yahshua is the Messiah, and you shall be saved and your house." And they spoke unto him the Word of Yahweh and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his household.
In each of these cases, baptism was administered in response to a desire that had been aroused by a belief in the Good News preached by the Apostles. Note that baptism was preceded by an intelligent understanding of and belief in the Good News. After this, it was carried out by total immersion in water.
In Acts 10, we have the account of Cornelius and his family. There are a few things we should consider about Cornelius before we look at his baptism. First, we're told in Acts 10:1-2, that Cornelius ...was a devout man and one who feared Yahweh with all his household, and gave alms to the Jewish people and prayed to Yahweh continually.
Cornelius even knew of the Messiah Yahshua. Peter states in verses 37-38, ... you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed.
You know of Yahshua of Nazareth, how Yahweh anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for Yahweh was with Him.
We see from the previous passages that, according to the Holy Spirit, who inspired Luke to write the things he did concerning Cornelius, that Cornelius:
was a devout man
feared Yahweh, as did his whole household
gave alms to the Jewish people
prayed to Yahweh continually
already knew of Yahshua and how Yahshua was Yahweh's Anointed or Messiah (verse 38).
Of course, there was no reason for Peter to tell Cornelius to first believe, because he already did believe. All that remained for Cornelius and his household to do, in order to have their sins forgiven, was to be baptized. But the last command that Peter received concerning the Gentiles was that they, the Apostles, were not to preach to them. See Matthew 10:5, These twelve Yahshua sent out after instructing them: "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans."
So Peter and the six Jewish brethren knew that they were forbidden to go to the Gentiles. And they would require a sign from Yahweh Himself, in order to convince them that He was now calling the Gentiles. The sign that Yahweh gave Peter and the six brethren that Peter brought with him (Acts 11:12), was the sign of speaking in tongues (a known language). Acts 10:44-46, While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues [in their own languages] and exalting Yahweh.
The tongue or language that the Jewish brethren heard Cornelius and his household speak was obviously the Hebrew tongue or language. They understood them to be "exalting Yahweh." And since Cornelius and his household were Romans, they most likely spoke Latin or an Italian dialect. So for him and his household to exalt Yahweh in a tongue or language that was understood by the Jewish brethren, the tongue had to be Hebrew—clearly a sign that Yahweh had accepted the Gentiles.
Tongues, we are told in 1 Corinthians 14:22, is a sign to the unbelievers. In this case, the ones that had to be convinced that Yahweh had accepted the Gentiles, were the Jews. So upon hearing them speak in tongues, Peter turned to the six brethren he brought with him, and asked the question, Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he (Acts 10:47)? And since there were no objections from the brethren, Peter ordered them to be baptized in the name of Yahshua the Messiah. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days (verse 48).
So, we see that, in order for Cornelius and his household to be baptized into the Body of the Messiah, Yahweh had to give Peter and the Jews a sign that He had accepted the Gentiles (Acts 11:18).
It is at baptism that we enter into the Body of the Messiah. 1 Corinthians 12:13 says, For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body ... We receive this Spirit at baptism (Acts 2:38).
Galatians 3:27, For all of you who were baptized into Messiah have clothed yourselves with Messiah.
So, Cornelius and his household were baptized into the Body of Messiah, making them new creatures in Messiah (Romans 6:3-4).
Since the time of the Apostles, converts to the Messiah have been baptized as the accepted method of consecration. They follow the example of the Apostle Peter who preached a convincing sermon on Pentecost, leading to a great number of Jews who were convicted of their sins.
What Must I Do To Be Saved?
When asked what they should do, Peter responded, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Yahshua the Messiah for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is the acknowledgement of a previous life unacceptable to our Heavenly Father, and the desire to become a "new man."
The first sermon preached by Peter was so moving and powerful, 3,000 people accepted his admonition to be baptized. Notice: They were not baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as Matthew 28:19 says. Rather, Acts 2:38 reveals that Peter told them to be baptized in the Name of Yahshua the Messiah.
Throughout the Book of Acts, the practice was to be immersed only into Yahshua's Name—not into the triune (Trinitarian) doctrine of the "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." When you are baptized in the Name of Yahshua, you are acknowledging the fact that "Yahweh is Salvation," the purpose of the entire Book!
The Age of Baptism
As stated in the foregoing example of Philip and the Ethiopian, there were certain conditions pertaining to when a person should be baptized, which has little to do with age. If you are old enough to know what sin is, who Yahshua is, why He came to earth, and the necessity for repentance, then you should be old enough to be baptized.
Because of the teaching of "original sin," to which many Protestant churches adhere, unless an infant is baptized when he dies, they say, he may be eternally lost. All are born inherently tainted with sin, according to this teaching. Sin and the eternal death penalty are brought upon mankind because of the sin of Adam and Eve. Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12). Further, Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and come short of the glory of Yahweh.
The practice of baptizing infants became universal in the sixth century. However, it was never practiced by the apostles and was never commanded by Yahshua the Messiah. Primarily from Egyptian beliefs, infant baptism became a part of the rite of the early Roman Church. Infant baptism has roots that go deeper than the first century C.E. The notion that it is not necessary for the person to make a spiritual commitment, nor even to understand what the ceremony means, dates to Babylonian and Chaldean times. As Alexander Hislop notes in The Two Babylons: "In the Chaldean mysteries, before any instruction could be received, it was required first of all, that the person to be initiated submit to baptism in token of blind and implicit obedience."
"The administration of baptism to infants was subsequently rendered compulsory by an edict of Emperor Justinian, who reigned over the Eastern Roman Empire from 527 C.E. to 565 C.E. He enacted 'that such pagans as were yet unbaptized, should present themselves, with their wives and children, and all that appertained to them, in the church; and there they should cause their little ones immediately to be baptized.'" Cote's Archaeology of Baptism, p. 120.
Emperor Justinian decreed the rite of infant baptism so the entire family would become a part of the realm. Just why an emperor would make an edict for baptism is unclear, except that it would strengthen his total rulership over the people as he could enlist the aid of the church to effect discipline.
Spanish Roman Catholic missionaries were astonished when they first came to the shores of Mexico (during the conquest of Cortez) to find infant baptism through sprinkling already in use, Humboldt's Mexican Researches, Vol. 1,. p. 185. According to Hislop, regeneration through infant baptism in Mexico was derived ultimately from the worship of "Adon of Babylon."
During the first centuries of our common era, two erroneous doctrinal beliefs gave rise to the practice of infant baptism: immortality of the soul and the fear of original sin. The reasoning was that because of man's immortal soul, and his being tainted by original sin, he would be doomed for eternity unless he found spiritual grace. If a baby were to die before some saving rite could be performed, it would be forever lost.
In Roman times, a girl eight days old and a boy nine underwent a purification ceremony with "holy water" to protect them from sorcery. This act of "christening" provided the baby its "Christian" name (Manual of Roman Antiquities). Not until the 5th century did infant baptism become fully established, and most were still immersed. The Church of England adopted pouring or sprinkling of babies during the time of Elizabeth 1.
Because of Adam's sin, immortality was taken away from human beings. Romans 5:12 reads, Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Each man is responsible for his own sin, and therefore needs to repent and be washed through baptism.
The early assembly knew nothing of baptizing infants, according to available sources. The Bible makes no command for, or even mentions, baptizing babies. Historians of the period did not recognize the practice.
"The religious historian, Neander, writes of the first-century believers, 'that the practice of infant baptism was unknown at this period... That not till so late a period as (at least certainly not earlier than) Ireanaeus (140-204 C.E.), a trace of infant baptism appears, and that it first became recognized as an apostolic tradition in the course of the third century, is evidence rather against than for the admission of apostolic origin," Aid to Bible Understanding, p. 188.
Infant Baptism—Is It Scriptural?
The requirements for baptism are belief and repentance. In every New Testament case of baptism, there was preaching of the Word and a belief in the things taught (Acts 2:38, 8:37, 18:8; Mark 1:15, 16:16). An infant cannot understand nor repent. No record exists that any infant was ever baptized in Scripture.
According to Scripture, one of the primary commands is to repent before one is baptized. It is virtually impossible for a little one to repent while still a babe. We have a brain when we are born, but we do not actively think, morally or abstractly, for several years. Humans, like animals, react from instinct to a certain degree. It is difficult to understand how a baby could repent or be sorry for sins and determine to mend his ways. How can he believe in a Savior? The baby's only real concern is to satisfy hunger and thirst and be comfortable. The notion of original sin was so ingrained, however, that infant baptism was performed regardless of biblical command or precedent.
Hastings observed, "The Council of Trent systematized the medieval doctrine and practice. In the 5th session, original sin and the relation of baptism to original sin were discussed. Infants are to be baptized, not that sins of their own committing may be forgiven, but [to remove original sin]," Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, p. 399.
Although some Protestant reformers recognized the fallacy of infant baptism, few were willing to denounce it. As Hastings notes, "The Reformers were not all eager iconoclasts. Luther and the most influential Elizabethans departed only slowly from traditional doctrine and custom... The most important of these was the feeling that, in religion, one cannot separate parent and child. The child of believing parents has, ipso facto, a claim on the Church" (p. 404).
But most churches could not circumvent the scriptural purpose of baptism—the conscious acknowledgement of the Scriptures and the commitment to living a new and better life. Therefore, the rite of confirmation was added. As Hastings notes: "Instead of abandoning infant baptism, most Protestant Churches put a fresh meaning into Confirmation or its equivalent. Thus they adhered to the view that the full privileges of the Christian life could not be bestowed unless consciously desired" (p. 404).
In 1571, the Puritans saw the mockery in the institution of "godparents" in the contemporary baptism of babies. From the Puritan Manifestoes, page 26, we find (in the Old English): "The Puritans of England objected to the institution of godfathers and godmothers, and in their admonition of 1571 complained, 'They prophane holye baptisme, in toying foolishly, for that they ask questions of an infant which it cannot answere.'"
Infant baptism cannot answer the basic purpose that baptism is supposed to serve. Persons become members in the Assembly only after they have made a commitment to change their lives and to submit to Yahshua the Messiah and His example. Each must make his own decision to become obedient and thereby the Assembly becomes a strong, unified and committed group of believers.
A mockery is made of the institution of baptism if the decision is made for a baby who later decides that he does not want to follow in Yahshua's footsteps.
Furthermore, if baptism is used to ensure that the infant will grow up in the right way, what is to stop the Assembly from baptizing everyone to that end? If the unrepentant is baptized, what sets apart the True Body of Yahshua?
Matthew 18:3-6 and 19-14 say that man is to become AS a child, humble and willing to accept truth—not haughty and recalcitrant. Yahshua blessed the children in 19:15, but did not baptize them.
The Method—Sprinkling, Pouring or Immersing?
Until the 12th century, throughout Europe, [Yahshua] was depicted as being baptized by immersion, according to current church custom. After the 12th century, gradually a baptism by infusion began to be shown, again reflecting church custom.[Yahshua] stands ankle-deep in the river as John pours water over Him from a saucer or pitcher."
The preceding excerpt was taken from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, under "Baptism of Christ," (p. 799).
The change in the method of baptism from immersion to pouring and sprinkling came slowly, and had several causes. To understand, we'll first analyze the word baptism and then take a historical look at the practice.
Bible translators encountered so much confusion and difference of opinion on the method of baptism that they chose to carry the word directly over into the English untranslated. In so doing, they did the modern Bible student a favor in delineating the exact method to be used.
Our word baptism is from baptisma or baptismos, the Greek verbal nouns derived from baptize, the intensive form of the prime verb bapto. The only meaning of bapto, and hence baptism, is to cover wholly with a fluid (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance). Baptizo was used particularly in the dyeing industry to describe the immersing of an article in dye to completely change its color.
The Greek word for sprinkle is rhantizo, and for pour ekcheo. Neither is ever used in Scripture for the act of baptism.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) says: "The standard lexicons ... uniformly give the meanings of baptize as dip or immerse. They do not give pour or sprinkle" (Baptism, p. 386).
This reference is corroborated in Systematic Theology, by Alva G. Huffer: "The classical meaning of baptize, which seldom occurs, and of the more common bapto, is dip (literally and metaphorically), and I never heard of its having any other meaning anywhere. Certainly I never saw a lexicon which gives either sprinkle or pour, as meanings of either. I must be allowed to ask why I am so often asked this question, which seems to me to have but one perfectly plain answer" (p. 355, quoting Professor Goodwin of Harvard).
The word baptism has retained its original meaning down through the centuries. Its meaning was and still is complete submersion. As the ISBE explains, "The Greek language has had a continuous history, and baptize is used today in Greece for baptism. As is well known, not only in Greece, but all over Russia, wherever the Greek church prevails, immersion is the unbroken and universal practice. The Greeks may surely be credited with knowledge of their own language. The substitution of pouring or sprinkling for immersion, as the Christian ordinance of baptism, was late and gradual, and finally triumphed in the West because of the decree of the Council of Trent," page 386.
Early Assembly Used Immersion
The practice of pouring or sprinkling water over the person being baptized has its roots in ancient heathenism and a belief in the immortality of the soul. Originating ultimately in Babylon, pagan worship was transmitted to modern worship through Egypt: "So in Egypt, there may be distinguished an older form of the baptism of kings and of the dead with a view to renewal of life, as may be seen as drops of water. The dead Osiris is also sprinkled, and out of his body there sprout blades of corn" (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vol. 1, p. 533).
Early in its development, the Apostolic Assembly used immersion exclusively as the proper method of baptism. Numerous sources confirm this fact—from Martin Luther and John Calvin to the Catholic church.
Luther wrote: "Baptism is a sign both of death and resurrection. Being moved by this reason, I would have those that are baptized to be altogether dipped into the water, as the word means and the mystery signifies" (Babylonian Captivity of the Church, Section 103).
John Calvin admitted that immersion was the Bible mode: "The very word baptize, however, signifies to immerse; and it is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient Church" (Institute of Christian Religion, Book IV, Chapter 15).
In his Explanatory Notes on the New Testament (1755), John Wesley, founder of Methodism, wrote: "We are buried with him—alluding to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion."
The Catholic Encyclopedia traces the development of baptism from the early common era practices: "The most ancient form usually employed was unquestionably immersion. This is not only evident from the writings of the Fathers and the early rituals of both the Latin and Oriental churches, but it can also be gathered from the Epistles of St. Paul, who speaks of baptism as a bath (Ephesians 5:26; Romans 6:4; Titus 3:5).
"In the Latin church, immersion seems to have prevailed until the twelfth century. After that time, it is found in some places even as late as the sixteenth century. Infusion and aspersion, however, were growing common in the thirteenth century and gradually prevailed in the Western Church," Vol. II, pp. 261-262.
Religious historians admit to immersion as the proper method of baptism. Philip Schaff wrote, "The usual form of the act was immersion, as is plain from the original meaning of the Greek baptizein and baptisma," History of the Christian Church, Vol. II, p. 251.
In The Beginnings of Christianity (1877), George Fisher said, "Baptism, it is now generally agreed among scholars, was commonly administered by immersion."
The German Lutheran church historian Mosheim (1694-1755) wrote, "Baptism was performed in the first century by immersing the whole body," Ecclesiastical History, London, 1765.
Baptism is a burial. Sprinkling nor pouring signify the act of burying. Paul said, Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism unto death: that like as Messiah was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).
In their standard work, The Life and Epistles of St. Paul, W.J. Conybeare and J.S. Howson wrote this concerning Romans 6:4, "This passage cannot be understood unless it be borne in mind that the primitive baptism was by immersion."
Beyond any doubt, the early Apostolic Assembly engaged in immersion as the only proper method of baptism. As noted in the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, "It is true that the earliest clear intimation which has come down to us of the manner in which [true believers] baptized, belonging probably to about the middle of the second century (found in the seventh chapter of the Didache), contemplates normal baptism as by immersion," "Baptism," p. 448.
Why Pouring and Sprinkling?
Pouring and sprinkling came into common usage for basically two reasons: Baptism of the infirmed, who it was thought might not survive submersion; and the general practice of baptizing infants (for the same reason).
James Hastings, in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, wrote: "Perhaps the only important change in the form of baptism was the general substitution in the West of sprinkling for immersion. The West seems always to have been readier to alter tradition in this matter than in the East. In the Middle Ages, from the thirteenth century onwards, baptism 'per aspersion' became more and more common" ("Later Christianity," p. 399).
Following a heathen precedent, the church, from about the 10th century, adopted a more convenient form of baptism. Under "Baptistery," the Encyclopedia Britannica (15th ed.) reveals this change through the design of church buildings: "In the 10th century, when baptism by effusion [pouring] became standard practice in the church, baptisteries, or baptismal chapels, were often omitted entirely," p. 799.
Calvin later flippantly brushed aside objections to changing the form of baptism. He wrote in Institutes of the Christian Religion, "Whether a person is to be wholly immersed, and that whether once or thrice, or whether he is only to be sprinkled with water, is not of the least consequence: churches should be at liberty to adopt either according to the diversity of climates, although it is evident that the term baptize means 'to immerse,' and that this was the form used by the primitive Church," (4,15,19)
If for the sake of convenience, man can dispense with the proper method of baptism and institute his own design, we must ask why bother to follow any given procedure? If baptism simply symbolizes confession of faith, why use water at all? A simple confession would be enough. From Acts 1:5, some believe that indeed water is not necessary: For John truly baptized with only water because the Holy Spirit had not yet been given to mankind. After it was sent at Pentecost, believers were baptized with water and then received the Holy Spirit (usually through the laying on of hands).
Note Acts 8:15 and 16. The Holy Spirit had yet to fall on the people of Samaria, yet they had been baptized in water. Peter asked, Can any man forbid water? (Acts 10:47)
Many today are baptized in "the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit," yet no name is mentioned. How do the popular titles figure in as the singular "name" of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Knowing the proper name for baptism is easy, enlightening and most of all—necessary.
The question of what was the proper name that should be invoked when baptizing new converts to Yahweh's truth played a big part in re-discovering the neglected Name of our Creator. Examples given in the Book of Acts showed that converts were baptized into the singular Name of the Savior. Paul agrees, as will be shown.
The commission given by our Savior reads, Go therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. This Trinitarian "formula" is only found in Matthew 28:19. According to the Jerusalem Bible, this formula is not found in the ancient Bible manuscripts. Evidently taken from a liturgical formula, the passage became part of the text. Also, note that the word "name" is singular. The converts were to be baptized in one name—not names—of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Assuming that this was the exact formula given us for immersion as Yahshua gave it, we can understand that it fits the rest of the Bible. Yahshua said that He came in His Father's Name, John 5:43. He came in the Name of "Yah," the same Name we find also in the short form in Psalm 68:4. He is the Salvation that Yah has sent to this world (John 3:16; Matthew 1:21, Luke 1:31).
Furthermore, when we are immersed into Yahshua's Name, in obedience to Him, the Holy Spirit is given us because it is sent in His Name (John 14:26). In essence, then, the Holy Spirit is present at baptism for it is sent in Yahshua's Name. The believer is immersed into Yahshua's Name and by so doing is giving glory to the Father by accepting the salvation that He has sent to this earth in Yahshua who bears His Name "Yah."
An examination of the scriptural references to baptism shows us that immersion is the proper form of baptism. In all instances in Acts, baptism was in Yahshua's Name. After Peter's moving sermon in Acts, the people were convicted and asked him what they should do. Note Peter's response, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Yahshua Messiah for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). No trinity formula here.
But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the Kingdom of Yahweh, and the Name of Yahshua the Messiah, they were baptized, both men and women, Acts 8:12. The next few verses tell of those who received the Holy Spirit. Peter and John came to them, praying for those who were baptized in the Name of Yahshua the Messiah. After laying hands on them, the Spirit came upon them (verses 16-17.). The baptism was done in the Name of Yahshua the Messiah (16:15; 22:16), and then followed the laying on of hands by the Elders, when the Holy Spirit was given them.
Acts 10 gives the only example in which the Holy Spirit was given BEFORE baptism. But it is also noteworthy that in verses 47-48 the text read "Yahshua Messiah" where the King James reads "Lord." Verse 48 should read as follows: And he commanded them to be baptized in the Name of Yahshua Messiah. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. This sole example of the Spirit's being given to the Gentiles BEFORE baptism was to show that they as Gentiles were accepted into the Body of Messiah as well as Israelites. Both Jew and Gentile had to be immersed in the Name of Yahshua the Messiah.
Acts 19:1-5 tells of the question raised by Paul to the Ephesians concerning whether they had received the Holy Spirit upon conversion. These Ephesians responded that they knew nothing about the Holy Spirit or that there even was such a thing. They had been baptized with John's baptism, which was a baptism unto repentance (verse 4). John's baptism was to prepare the people for the coming of Messiah. Verse 3 explains that they were immersed unto John the Baptist's baptism of repentance in preparation for the baptism into Yahshua for the forgiveness of sins. Verse 5 tells us that they were then baptized in the Name of Yahshua Messiah and the Holy Spirit was given to them as well.
Acts 19 is an example for all who have been immersed in the substitute name of "Jesus Christ" or in the "Trinitarian formula" given in Matthew 28:19. The titles "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" are not names at all. Those having been immersed in these titles have not been immersed in a name of any kind. It is a type of John's baptism where the believer has gone as far as he knows. When he discovers that he should be immersed into the only name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12), he will be immersed into that name as given by the Heavenly Father. That name is Yahshua [Yah is Salvation] the Messiah.
It is up to us to walk in all the fullness of the Word of Yahweh that we are given. To do less is to ignore the admonition to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of Yahweh (Matthew 4:4).
The Book of Acts clearly records that the proper way of baptism for remission of sins is in the Name of Yahshua the Messiah. Chapter 6 of Romans gives Paul's explanation of how a believer can be dead to sin and a slave to righteousness. Paul explains that those who were baptized into Yahshua the Messiah have experienced a type of burial.
Know you not that so many of us as were baptized into Yahshua Messiah were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death, that like as Messiah was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection (Romans 6:3-5).
Paul explains to the Galatians that by our belief in the Messiah we are children of Yahweh. Note his comments in Galatians 3:26-27, for you are all the children of Yahweh by faith in Messiah Yahshua. For as many of you as have been baptized into Messiah have put on Messiah. Paul explains that baptism is being immersed into the Messiah and becoming like Him unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Messiah (Ephesians 4:13).
In 1 Corinthians 1:12-13, Paul clarifies that baptism is done in the Name of Yahshua. He mentions several people as if they were instrumental in their salvation, each separately: Now this I say, that every one of you says, 'I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Messiah.' Is Messiah divided? Was Paul impaled for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? He refutes this in the next verses and says that he is thankful that he had baptized none except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should accuse him of baptizing in his own name. It is clear that converts were baptized in one, singular name. It was the Name of Yahshua the Messiah.
The Apostle contrasts being immersed into Paul's name with being immersed into the Name of Yahshua. Being immersed into Yahshua's Name shows that the Body of believers acknowledges Him as the head of the Body. He is the leader and head of the Body (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; 5:23). Yahshua is the head and the body of believers get their direction from Him. He is the One Who guides, leads and directs His Body. When we are baptized into His Name we become a part of His Body and an extension of His will as we submit to Him.
It becomes obvious after a deeper study of the Scriptures that those who have been immersed into "the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit" are not baptized into any name at all. There is more than one individual called "Father." There is more than one individual called "Son." All men on this earth are sons. Some sons are fathers.
Holy Spirit is not a name but a descriptive title for an impersonal force or power that comes from Yahweh, and is shared by the Son.
Neither is baptism into the name of "Jesus" proper baptism, according to the Bible. The Savior said that He came in his Father's Name. "Jesus" is in no way a part of Yahweh's Name. "Yahshua" means "the Salvation that Yah has sent." Truly, He came in His Father's Name. [For more information on this topic, request our booklets, "The Heavenly Father's Great Name" and "The Missing J."]
Where Do I Go From Here?
You have read this article and verified every fact for yourself. You believe that Yahshua is the Messiah, the Son of Yahweh, Who came to earth as a man, died for our sins and gave us salvation. Contact Yahweh's Assembly in Messiah to make arrangements for an elder to counsel you in preparation for baptism.