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Published On : July 7, 1997

Last Updated : January 3, 2009

The Last Nail In The Coffin Of Water Baptism?

Some time ago I was involved in a discussion on my BBS
concerning the topic of baptism. One participant was
inquiring as to whether or not water baptism is necessary
for salvation as is believed by some churches and religious
organizations. In this particular case, the Scriptures used
to substantiate this claim were the following:

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he
that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:16)

"And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash
away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
(Acts 22:16)

Another participant in our conversation responded with the
following wise answer:

"So far as I know, the thief on the cross next to Jesus was
never baptised, but Jesus said he would join Him that day in
paradise. If you think of baptism as spiritual rather than
physical, all the passages make more sense. There is much
in the Bible which I believe is intended to be interpreted
spiritually, but is instead taken physically ("unless you
eat my flesh and drink my blood ...) by some Churches. I
find it interesting that none of them take all the passages
one way or another. Lots of picking and choosing going on,
and lots of doctrines in Bible-based Churches which are not

----- End Of Quote -----

I have to agree wholeheartedly with the above comments.
Taken in that light, the above verses make a lot more sense.
The baptism mentioned in Mark 16:16 is not referring to a
water baptism, but rather to the baptism of the Spirit. As I
pointed out in previous articles such as 'Water Baptism: Is
It Really Necessary?', Jesus never once baptised Himself,
only His disciples did:

"When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard
that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,
(Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)"
(John 4:1-2)

As stated in that article, I believe the reason His
disciples did this is because they were still following the
old mold, they still hadn't caught on to the new plan and
the new meaning of baptism. In fact, they themselves hadn't
even received the Holy Spirit yet. This wouldn't happen
until some three years later after Jesus had ascended back
to His Father. Prior to that time, it appears that John the
Baptist was more in tune to the things of the Spirit than
The Twelve were. Afterall, he was filled with the Holy
Spirit from his mother's womb:

"For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall
drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled
with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb."
(Luke 1:15)

John understood that the baptism Jesus was referring to was
a spiritual baptism, that is why he said:

"John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you
with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of
whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you
with the Holy Ghost and with fire:" (Luke 3:16)

Is it just a coincidence that fire is the exact opposite of
water? As explained in the aforementioned article, in John
chapter three, when speaking with Nicodemus concerning the
necessity of spiritual rebirth, Jesus used water to
symbolize the physical birth in which we are surrounded by
amniotic fluid in our mother's womb. How fitting then that
fire should be used to symbolize the spiritual birth. Taken
in this light, Mark 16:16 now makes a lot more sense. John
would not tell us that Jesus never baptised, just to have
Mark contradict him in his own Gospel by saying that Jesus
was referring to a water baptism in this verse:

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he
that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:16)

To understand this verse any other way would be to say that
the Bible contradicts itself, which I do not believe for a
minute. If there is any contradiction, it is in our own
limited understanding of the things of God, for as the
prophet Isaiah tells us:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your
ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher
than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my
thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Let's be honest; this whole issue of baptism is a very
complicated topic. If you don't believe me, just look at how
many different perspectives the churches have on it today.
Some say it is necessary for salvation, some say it isn't.
Some say we need to be water baptised, and some say we
don't. Some say we need to be baptised at birth, while
others say it is only for adult Christians who understand
its significance. Even the very meaning of baptism itself is
confusing. The words 'baptism' and 'baptised' are used in a
variety of ways in the New Testament.

In one sense, the usage of the words 'believeth' and
'baptized in Mark 16:16 are synonymous with each other. Do
you know why? Because to believe IS to be baptized. Why do I
say that? Let's take a closer look at that second verse
first, and then I will give you a clear answer.

"And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash
away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
(Acts 22:16)

In the above verse, Paul is recounting his experience with
Ananias who was sent to him to heal his eyes, and so that
Paul might also be filled with the Holy Ghost. This occurs
in chapter nine which I will get to in a minute. Exactly
what does Paul mean by being baptized and washing away his
sins? Is he saying that he believes that being immersed in
water will wash away our sins? Obviously not. Water can't
wash anything away but physical filth. While Annanias, the
one who water-baptised him, may have believed so, I am not
so certain that this is Paul's understanding at the time
this is written. From verses I will share a bit later, I
believe that Paul realizes that real baptism has absolutely
nothing to do with water. Peter confirms this same thought
when he says in part:

"The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save
us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the
answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection
of Jesus Christ:" (1 Peter 3:21)

In my view, the end of Paul's statement indicates exactly
what is meant by 'be baptized.' And what did he say? He
said, 'calling on the name of the Lord.' In other words,
being baptised is synonymous with calling upon the Lord or
being saved, for when we call upon the name of the Lord,
THAT is what washes away our sins, the blood of Jesus, and
not water or anything else. When we express belief in Jesus'
sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection from the dead,
we are in fact being baptized by the Spirit. Simply put,
once Jesus accomplished His death on the cross, the baptism
of the Holy Ghost became synonymous with salvation. There is
no difference. To believe in what the Spirit of Truth
testifies to us is to be baptised. This is the very same
thing that Peter is saying. He is saying that to believe is
to be baptised...to be baptised is to be saved...'baptism
doth also now save.' We know Peter isn't talking about water
baptism, he told us so himself. He is talking about
spiritual baptism. Now, if what I am saying isn't clear to
you yet, it will be in a moment after I present a few more
verses. Just be patient and you will see how clear it

Taking a look back at one of the first verses I quoted, we
can now view it in a new light:

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he
that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:16)

Why didn't Jesus say '...but he that believeth not AND IS
NOT BAPTIZED shall be damned'? Could it be because He was
inferring that they are synonymous? Could it be that they
are not two separate acts or events? If you don't believe,
then of course you cannot be baptized by the Spirit.
Furthermore, as already stated, if John tells us that Jesus
never water-baptised, why would Jesus turn around and say
that we must be water-baptised to be saved? There are only
two possibly solutions: Either Jesus was talking about the
baptism by fire, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, or else He
never even said these words to begin with! While this may
alarm some, there are those who firmly believe that these
final verses where added to the Gospel of Mark sometime
later, and were not written by its original author. But
getting back to the main poiont here, in a minute we will
see exactly what this word 'baptized' really means. That is
the whole key to our understanding of this issue, and where
some people have been confused.

If you are one who is convinced of the necessity of water
baptism, then you need to be willing to chuck that whole
idea for a minute to be able to receive what I am trying to
tell you. Just open up your mind and heart to this idea and
give it a chance. As long as you keep equating baptism with
water, you are never going to get it. True baptism has
absolutely nothing to do with water. Here is the gist of it:
What does the word 'baptism' really mean? Do you know? Well,
from the verses I have uncovered, to be baptised seems to
mean to be covered, NOT by water, but by the very Spirit of
God. It is like an invisible cloak or veil which is cast
over our sins so that the Lord sees them no more. Our sins
are blotted out by the blood of Christ:

"Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine
iniquities." (Psalms 51:9)

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:
though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as
snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as
wool." (Isaiah 1:18)

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,
that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness:
by whose stripes ye were healed." (1 Peter 2:24)

Notice that in that last verse, Peter is quoting an Old
Testament prophecy from Isaiah chapter fifty-three. What is
really interesting about these verses is that because the
Jews of old resisted God's Spirit of Truth, because they
rejected Jesus, they did not have this special cloak of the
Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus said:

"If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had
sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin." (John 15:22)

You see how clear that verse becomes now? Jesus wasn't just
talking about any old cloak, He was talking about the very
Holy Spirit which would hide their sins from God if they
would just stop blaspheming against it. As Jesus said, that
is the only unforgiveable sin, because in blaspheming the
Holy Ghost, in refusing to accept God's salvation, a person
is damning themselves...no one is doing it for them. Jesus
may have even been making a prophecy with the above
statement. It is interesting to note that at the time of His
death on the cross, the Temple veil, (or cloak), was ripped
in half:

"And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from
the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the
rocks rent;" (Matthew 27:51)

The fact that two of the Gospel writers, (Matthew and Mark),
included this in their narratives is significant. The veil
is what separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the
outer Temple. It was in the Holy of Holies where the Ark of
the Covenant used to be located, and where the Lord
descended upon the Mercy Seat to commune with the High
Priest. It was on the altar before the veil where the High
Priest had to go once a year to offer sacrifices to the Lord
for the sins of the people, just as Aaron the first High
Priest had done:

"And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once
in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements:
once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout
your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD."
(Exodus 30:10)

A number of interpretations have been applied to this event
of the veil being ripped in half. It could mean that the
Lord was trying to show the Jews that they could no longer
hide behind their cloak of hypocrisy, behind their dead
religion of self-righteous works of keeping the Law and
performing animal sacrifices. Perhaps He was using the veil
incident to try to show them that they now had to accept the
final sacrifice in His Son to find remission of their sins.
It might also be that the Lord ripped the veil in half to
show the common people that He would no longer commune with
their High Priest since the Sanhedrin had rejected Jesus. Of
course, since they did reject the Lord, their sins could no
longer be blotted out. But it was even more serious than
that as we will see in a moment.

Another way to look at this is that we are not just covered
or cloaked by God's Spirit when we accept Jesus' sacrifice,
but that we are actually SEALED by it as well. What does the
word 'seal' actually mean? Well, it has several meanings.
Let's consider one of them: If you are familiar with making
fruit preserves, then you know that after you add the sugar,
the spices, the pectin, and whatever else you are going to
put in there, you have to cook the fruit over the fire to
kill the germs. After you do that, you have to put it in
sterilized jars and seal it with waxed lids. What is the
purpose of doing this? It is to protect the fruit from germs
so it won't spoil too quickly. It is to preserve and save it
for a future date until you are ready to eat it. In a
spiritual sense, this is exactly what happens to us when we
accept Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. Jesus already passed
through the fire for us when He gave His life on the cross;
so by believing in His sacrifice, we are purged of our sins,
(or germs), and then sealed and protected. We are saved for
future use. Exactly what are we sealed and protected from?
The following verse will make it clear for you:

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he
that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath
of God abideth on him." (John 3:36)

There is no need to try to interpret this verse. It is as
plain as day. Once we accept Jesus, we are saved and sealed,
(baptized), by the Spirit, from the coming wrath of God!
Because the ancient Jews did not accept Jesus, they were not
only not saved, but they were not protected or sealed from
God's wrath either. As the historical record bears out, only
some forty years after Christ's death on the cross, the
Roman legions under Titus came in and utterly destroyed
Jerusalem and its Temple. It is said that close to a million
Jews were martyred during the next few years following that
invasion. Jesus prophesied this very event:

"And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his
disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the
temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these
things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here
one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
(Matthew 24:1-2)

Here is another verse concerning how, possibly in the near
future, a remnant of Israel will be saved and sealed after
the Lord has brought them to their knees. The verses after
this one name the 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel:

"Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees,
till we have sealed the servants of our God in their
foreheads." (Revelation 7:3)

Now, if you are still having a hard time accepting this idea
of the baptism of the Spirit being similar to being sealed
like fruit preserves, consider this: Jesus was the
firstfruits of the Resurrection:

"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the
firstfruits of them that slept." (1 Corinthians 15:20)

Jesus was also the first to be sealed. He said so Himself:

"Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat
which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man
shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed."
(John 6:27)

Exactly what did Jesus mean here by being sealed? Well, as I
said previously, baptized and sealed are synonymous; but
this word 'seal' has another meaning which can also be
applied to what Jesus was saying. To understand it, let's
look at a few more verses where Jesus expands a bit more on
what He is saying here:

"But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are
ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be
baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say
unto him, We are able." (Matthew 20:22)

"Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him
that sent me, and to finish his work." (John 4:34)

Are you getting the picture? Just like the fruit is
preserved and sealed for a specific purpose, i.e., to be
eaten at a later date, Jesus was also saying that He had
been sealed or baptized with the Spirit by His Father for a
specific task. You see, another meaning of the word 'seal'
is a symbol of ownership, just like in the olden days when
kings would place the seal of their ring on something to
make it official or else to show that they owned it. Seals,
or brands, are also used by livestock owners to show that
certain animals belong to them. Well folks, Jesus is our
Great Shepherd, and we are His sheep. He can do with us as
He pleases. That is why we are told by Paul:

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,
acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And
be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good,
and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:1-2)

Remember what Jesus said in the Garden of Gethsemane?:

"Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from
me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."
(Luke 22:42)

Remember, I also said that the reason that we seal the fruit
preserves is to protect them from harm, so germs can't spoil
them. We might also say that by baptising or sealing Jesus,
God was making sure that the Jews could do no more harm to
Him that what was allowed until His time had come.

So then, just as Jesus, the firstfruits of the Resurrection,
was baptized and sealed by God to show that He not only
belonged to Him, but that He was sent to perform a specific
task, we are likewise sealed and protected by the Spirit as
well once we believe in Jesus. At the same time, we also
become firstfruits of the resurrection:

"Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the
Spirit in our hearts." (2 Corinthians 1:22)

"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of
truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that
ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of
promise," (Ephesians 1:13)

"And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the
firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within
ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption
of our body." (Romans 8:23)

"But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits;
afterward they that are Christ's at his coming."
(1 Corinthians 15:23)

"Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we
should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
(James 1:18)

"These are they which were not defiled with women; for they
are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb
whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men,
being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb."
(Revelation 14:4)

If you still aren't sure you understand what firstfruits
means, these final verses will make it very clear for you:

"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was
given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were
beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God,
and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image,
neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in
their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a
thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again
until the thousand years were finished. This is the first
resurrection." (Revelation 20:4-5)

You see, not everyone is resurrected at the same time. Only
those who believe in Jesus participate in the First
Resurrection. That is why we are called the Firstfruits of
The Resurrection. We are the ones who have been baptised or
sealed by the Spirit because we have believed. So in a
sense, from the time we are saved, we are filled, sealed,
and eventually totally healed by being given new resurrected
bodies!...and here is exactly how it is going to happen:

"But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he
shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished,
as he hath declared to his servants the prophets."
(Revelation 10:7)

"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so
them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For
this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which
are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not
prevent, (go before), them which are asleep. For the Lord
himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the
voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the
dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and
remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,
to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with
the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
(1 Thessalonians 4:14-18)

"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but
we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an
eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the
dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be
changed." (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

Folks, once God has finished using us here on Earth, we will
be going Home to our heavenly reward! Won't that be great?!

Well, I am not quite done yet; but with all of this new
information I have now presented, it should be clear that to
be baptised has absolutely nothing to do with water. It is
to be saved and sealed by the Spirit through faith in the
sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. Let's look at
that verse in Mark one more time and substitute 'baptized'
with 'sealed' to see that it really does make a lot of

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he
that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:16)

And why will a person be damned if they believe not? Because
they won't be baptised or sealed by the Spirit of God.
Instead, as I have pointed out in some of my Endtime
articles, they will be sealed by Satan himself when they
receive the Mark of the Beast! They will be sealed by the
spirit of antichrist!:

"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor,
free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in
their foreheads:" (Revelation 13:16)

"And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet
that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived
them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that
worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake
of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain
with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword
proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled
with their flesh." (Revelation 19:19-21)

If you don't want to be sealed or baptised by God's Spirit,
by accepting Christ's sacrifice on the cross, then you
better be prepared to face both His and Satan's wrath! It's
just that simple.

With all of this additional information, we should now be
able to go back and look at the baptism of Paul in a new
light. His salvation and baptism of the Holy Spirit was a
simultaneous experience. It was not two separate events as
in other cases where we see someone accepting the Lord, and
then sometime later receiving the Holy Spirit. Looking at
Acts chapter nine, we read the following:

"And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and
putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even
Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest,
hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be
filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from
his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight
forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had
received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain
days with the disciples which were at Damascus." (Acts

Notice what it is really saying here. In obedience to the
Lord's command, Ananias forsook his own fears of Saul the
Christian persecutor, and went directly to the house where
Saul was staying and laid his hands on him. He did this for
two reasons: to restore Saul's sight, and so that he might
be filled with the Holy Ghost. This was the actual moment of
Saul's salvation. The scales falling from his eyes was a
physical manifestation of his receiving spiritual sight and
salvation. At that specific moment, Saul became Paul, and he
was baptised or sealed by the Holy Ghost to perform a
specific task for the Lord as the Apostle to the Jews. In a
sense, Paul got a triple-whamee. He was healed, filled and
sealed! All of this happened through the laying on of hands.
That is what Ananias came to do, and that is exactly what he
did. The Lord didn't tell Ananias to go dunk Paul in water.
He just said, go lay hands on him to restore his sight, and
so that he can be filled with the Holy Ghost. If this is the
case, then what does it mean when it says that Paul arose
and was baptised? Does that mean that after Ananias prayed
over him that he went over and was immersed in water? It's
possible that it does, but let me ask you, do you think
everyone had a big tub of water sitting in their house two
thousand years ago? This wasn't even Ananias' house. He
didn't know what to expect to find there. All he knew is
that the Lord sent him to lay hands on Saul. Right after
rising up and being baptised, it says Saul sat down to eat.
We are told that Saul had been so shaken up by his
unexpected encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus
and his sudden blindness, that he hadn't eaten in those
three days:

"And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat
nor drink." (Acts 9:9)

But let's consider for a minute. What if rising up and being
baptized isn't a reference to Ananias water-baptizing Saul?
What if it means that right after Ananias had laid hands on
Saul, Saul's sight was restored, and in the act of rising
up, he was filled or baptised with the Holy Ghost? I think
we can agree that Saul, now Paul, was saved through an act
of personal faith when he allowed Ananias to lay hands on
him and pray over him. Remember, Paul had hated the
Christians, and Ananias was afraid of him initially, so this
was a great act of faith on both of their parts. Paul could
have resisted, but he didn't. This once-proud pharisee of
pharisees humbly submitted himself before God's anointed,
Ananias. His proud spirit was broken. It wasn't the actual
prayer or the laying on of hands that saved Saul. That
couldn't save him any more than water could if he was in
fact water-baptised by Ananias. It was at the moment that he
stopped resisting the testimony of the Holy Ghost and
accepted Jesus' sacrifice as being real that he was saved
and sealed by God. Maybe that is why the Lord had to leave
Saul blind for three days. Maybe He had to soften Saul up a
bit first so that he really saw his need to be saved.
Whether it was on the road to Damascus, or when Ananias
prayed over him, we really can't be too sure; but one thing
we do know is that it was at the moment in which Saul really
believed that God's Spirit cloaked over his sins as
explained previously.

While we all know that Jesus was water baptised by John, was
it the act of physically being immersed in water that
brought down the Holy Spirit upon Him? Of course not. A
close look at the following verse will show otherwise. As
with Paul, it was the act of Jesus' opening Himself up to
His Father's will that brought down the Holy Ghost. Just as
Paul submitted himself to Ananias, Jesus likewise humbly
submitted Himself to John and then rose up out of the water,
just as Paul rose up after being prayed over by Ananias:

"And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the
heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon
him:" (Mark 1:10)

It is this rising up part which intrigues me. Could this
rising up to meet the Spirit after humble submission to God
be the mechanism which triggered the outpouring of the Holy
Ghost in both of these cases? In Acts chapter eight we see a
clear example where receiving the Holy Ghost had nothing to
do with water baptism. It was all a matter of faith and
prayer and a laying on of hands:

"Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that
Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them
Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for
them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he
was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the
name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them,
and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that
through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was
given, he offered them money," (Acts 8:14-18)

Notice that something very interesting occurs here. As I was
writing this article, this very possibility occurred to me.
And what is that? Well, it might be that there is a
difference between being SEALED by the Holy Ghost, as at
one's moment of salvation, and being FILLED with the Holy
Ghost. Maybe we are all sealed by the Spirit, but only
certain ones who have been called to a specific ministry are
actually filled with the Holy Spirit. In other words,
perhaps when we are saved, the Holy Spirit descends upon us
and more or less hovers around us like a protective aura,
like a force field so-to-speak. A very good verse which
seems to confirm this is the following:

"The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear
him, and delivereth them." (Psalms 34:7)

Could this 'angel' really be referring to God's Holy Spirit?
Well, believe it or not, if we look at something else which
King David said in his moments of desperation and
repentance, it seems quite possible:

"Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy
spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;
and uphold me with thy free spirit." (Psalms 51:11-12)

From these verses, it certainly appears that this holy
spirit of protection can fall upon us and then be lifted
again if we resist it or displease the Lord. Is the holy
spirit in this verse the same as THE Holy Spirit? I
certainly can't answer that with any degree of certainty,
but I was just reminded of some other verses which likewise
speak of God's Spirit rising and descending. Think first of
all on what John the Baptist had to say:

"And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with
water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the
Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he
which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." (John 1:33)

You see the implication there? It appears that John is
saying that God's Spirit, His Holy Spirit, doesn't always
descend and remain. In other words, it can be drawn back.
Based on that, it seems that perhaps King David is in fact
talking about the very Holy Spirit. If this is the case, I
would venture to say that when he uses the word 'angel' in
Psalm 34:7, he is referring to the same thing. In thinking
on this issue, one more verse came to mind which I will now
quote. Consider what Jesus said to Nathanael:

"And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God
ascending and descending upon the Son of man." (John 1:51)

After reading the above verse, I bcame curious as to exactly
where this prophecy was fulfilled. What I found out is that
Nathanael is mentioned by name in only two places in the
entire New Testament: in John chapter one where this
incident took place, and in the final chapter of John where
Nathanael now seems to be a full-fledged disciple and Jesus
appears unto them for the third time on the shores of the
Sea of Galilee. As to exactly when this prophecy was
fulfilled, I have no idea. Nevertheless, the above verse
does add to the whole picture to show us that this concept
of angels and the Holy Spirit may be a lot deeper than we
realize. Putting all of this together then, it seems that
there is a difference between the Holy Spirit hovering over
us to protect us, and actually being permanently filled with
it as in the cases of John, Jesus, The Twelve, Paul and
others. It also seems that the actual in-dwelling of the
Holy Spirit might be a secondary event after initially being
saved and sealed by the Spirit. Not only are we surrounded
by it, but it then actually fills our very beings to give us
that extra power for witnessing through the particular
ministry that the Lord has given each of us. This is all
speculation on my part, and I admit that I might be wrong,
but the verses shared thus far do present a strong case for
it in my view.

One thing we know for sure is that the above Scriptures from
the book of Acts do indicate that these people had been
baptized in the name of the Lord, in other words, they were
already saved, but they had not yet received the full
anointing of the Spirit. Of course, those who support water
baptism will probably say that this means they had been
water-baptized in Jesus' name. This may indeed be true, for
as I have also said, I believe it took the first disciples a
while to grasp the idea that it was no longer necessary.
This is why when Peter had matured more in the Spirit, he
made his above remark regarding removing the filth of the
flesh. He came to the full realization of what baptism
actually means.

There is another example of what we can refer to as
're-baptism' if you will. In Acts 19:1-6, we have Paul
coming to certain disciples in Ephesus. Here is the text in
its entirety:

"And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth,
Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus:
and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye
received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said
unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any
Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye
baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said
Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance,
saying unto the people, that they should believe on him
which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When
they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord
Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy
Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and
prophesied." (Acts 19:1-6)

Now, for those who claim that these verses are referring to
water baptism, these verses present a real challenge. These
verses clearly say that these disciples were baptized with
the baptism of John, they were water-baptized. Yet, like The
Twelve, they had not recieved the Holy Spirit. It then goes
on to say that Paul laid hands on them and baptized them in
the name of the Lord Jesus Christ & they received the Holy
Ghost. So, at the very least, we have a water baptism by
John, and a spiritual baptism by Paul through the laying on
of hands to receive the Holy Ghost. However, if you read
these verses a different way, as one who still believes in
water baptism, then you can understand these verses to be
showing THREE separate baptisms: a water baptism by John, a
second water baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,
and then Paul laying hands on them for the third baptism of
the Holy Ghost. At the very least you are saying that we all
have to be baptized twice, (if you look at the laying on of
hands and being baptized in the name of the Lord as the same
event), if not three times, (if you view the last two as
separate events).

It is possible that this is what may have been happening in
the Gospels and throughout the Book of Acts. Some, if not
all of Jesus' own disciples, were baptized by John. In the
book of Acts we likewise find people, such as in the above
example, who were likewise baptized by John. But just like
The Twelve, they required a second spiritual baptism to
receive salvation through the name of Jesus and the sealing
of the Holy Spirit. And actually, because Christianity was
just getting off to a start, these folks weren't just
sealed, they were also filled, because every single one of
them was needed for the initial growth of the Christian
Church. But you see, because of their own confusion and lack
of spiritual clarity at the time, at first, Jesus' own
disciples were taking John's disciples and water baptising
them a second time when they came to know Jesus. That is why
we are told that Jesus' disciples baptised, but Jesus
Himself did not. It wasn't until later that Peter and Paul
and the rest began to realize that the laying on of hands
accomplished the same purpose without any water whatsoever.
It must have blown their minds when they understood that the
baptism by fire totally did away with the physical baptism
by water.

The Apostle Paul was likewise very well aware of the fact
that the water baptism of John was just a foreshadow of
things to come. He knew that once the Holy Spirit had been
given following Jesus' ascension into Heaven, John's water
baptism was eventually to be done away with. Consider the
following verses and their spiritual significance as spoken
by Paul and explained through the words of Jesus and others.
Remember, the Bible is self-interpretting in many places. I
have said this many times before. Don't rely upon your
carnal wisdom; just connect the dots, join the verses to get
the whole picture:

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of
regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;" (Titus 3:5)

In this first verse, notice Paul's reference to 'washing of
regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.' What is this
'washing' he is referring to? Is it a water baptism?...Or is
it synonymous with the last part of his statement, 'renewing
of the Holy Ghost'? Consider what Paul said in a few other

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become
new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,
acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And
be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good,
and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:1-2)

It should now be evident that this 'washing of regeneration'
is in fact synonymous with 'renewing of the Holy Ghost.'
Paul is not talking anything about water baptism. He is
talking about a spiritual renewal or regeneration of our
minds and spirits which occurs when God zaps us with His
Holy Spirit. When we accept the Lord as our Saviour, we in
essence become new creatures by the Spirit. The Lord begins
to re-wire our circuits so-to-speak so that we begin to see
with our eyes of the spirit instead of with our fleshly
carnal minds of human understanding. Consider what Paul also
said to the Hebrew disciples:

"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of
faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience,
and our bodies washed with pure water." (Hebrews 10:22)

Here again we see a reference to water. First we see 'our
hearts sprinkled,' and then we see that not only are our
hearts sprinkled, but our entire 'bodies washed with pure
water.' Those who read this with their human understanding
will of course say, 'Aha! See! How can you say that the
Apostle Paul didn't believe in water baptism?' Well, I will
tell you how: because I compare scripture with scripture
instead of just picking out one or two verses to support my
beliefs. As I have already said, Paul is talking about a
spiritual baptism, a spiritual change of mind, heart and
attitude, whatever you want to call it. Here is more proof
for your consideration:

"BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by
taking heed thereto according to thy word." (Psalms 119:9)

"Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto
you." (John 15:3)

Well look at that! The Word is spiritual water! There is no
way to deny this! This 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 cleanses us, NOT a
water baptism...exactly as Peter was telling us earlier!
Look at what else Jesus had to say on this:

"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)

"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)

Now if you put these last two verses together along with
everything else I have said before them, you make a
startling discovery. 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
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, what gives life,
what maintains life, and what heals life. 'In the beginning
was the Word.' 'All things were made by Him.'

Jesus 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)

Like Jesus' own disciples, and like many today, this woman
was trying to understand things with her carnal mind. Like
us, she was so hung up on the physical. In her case, she was
hung up on physical worship in a physical Temple at
Jerusalem. The first disciples were also hung up on that
Temple, and that is why the Lord had to finally just take it
away altogether in about 70 A.D. It wasn't until after
Jesus' departure from Earth that they really began to see
and understand with their eyes of the spirit. They were also
hung up on a physical thing called water baptism, just like
many churches today. But, do you know what? It was shortly
after Jesus' ascension into Heaven that His prophecy was
fulfilled to the letter. In Acts 1:8 we read:

"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." (Acts 1:8)

Only a few short verses later we also read:

"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 2:1-4a)

And what did Jesus say earlier?: "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 see that, that is exactly what happened:

"...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)

Out of their bellies, out of their souls, the seat of their
spirits, flowed the Words which give life...and thousands
were saved because of it! 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 cleansed and
renewed by the Waters of the Spirit, by the very Word of God
in which they have chosen to believe. At that point, they
are baptised or sealed by the Spirit of redemption. This is
exactly what Peter meant, and this is exactly what Paul
meant in their various references to 'washing,'
'sprinkling,' 'pure water,' etc. I mean think about it, how
can you sprinkle water on your heart? You can't...unless it
is spiritual water. That is why David also pleaded with the
Lord when he said:

"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)

This goes hand in hand with what the Lord said through His
prophet Ezekiel:

"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)

It is all a spiritual process of repentance, faith and
belief which has absolutely nothing to do with the outdated
practice of water baptism. The Scriptural evidence is just
too overwhelming to deny, unless you just don't want to
accept The Truth. If you are one who is still hung up on
water baptism, this is your chance for liberation. Will you
take it?

To look at all of these verses I have shared in any other
way is total confusion. We are not John's disciples. We do
not need to be spiritually prepared for the coming of Christ
through a water baptism of repentance. He has already come,
and we know Who He is. In those days, He had not come yet,
and even after He did, it took a while for many to discover
Who He was. They didn't have mass transportation or mass
communication as we do today. The fact that Jesus has
already come and we know Who He is totally annuls the need
for a water baptism. 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 baptising us with
water for our salvation.

It is commendable that these churches are trying to follow
the Scriptures as closely as they can. It is commendable
that they are trying to follow the pattern of the Early
Church to the best of their understanding. But, what they
are neglecting to see is that the Early Church did not stand
still. It continued to grow spiritually and accept new
truths as the Lord revealed it to them. Peter saw it and
eventually accepted it. Paul likewise later came to
understand the lack of necessity for water baptism as shown
by the previous verses. I wonder if perhaps the reason Peter
and Paul continued for a while with water baptisms is simply
because they knew they were dealing with spiritual children.
After all, as we read in the Gospels and in Acts, they both
made quite a few serious mistakes of their own when they
were young in the faith. Maybe 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 something which
Paul said in his epistle to the Hebrews which touches on
this very issue of spiritual growth and leaving behind the
rudimentary elements of the faith:

"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)

In his message to the Corinthian church, Paul made a similar
statement when he said:

"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)

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
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, (and it was WINE not grape juice), think of what I
have done for you. This whole idea of repetitive actions
like weekly communions, weekly confessions, repeating the
rosary, etc. sounds like a works trip to me, 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
still are under the same bondage.

Anyway, the main point is, because of our current knowledge,
it seems to me that being saved and sealed by the Spirit has
become a one-step operation. We don't have to receive the
water baptism of John, then be baptised a second time in the
name of the Lord, and then have a laying on of hands to
receive the Holy Ghost. If some of these 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 need two or three different baptisms
just to make sure they are saved and filled. As a matter of
fact, some of them take it even further than that. They say
unless you speak in tongues and prophesy, you don't even
have the Spirit of God! God is not the author of confusion.
He made everything simple so that everyone could understand.
It is only modern religion and modern churches who have
complicated things so that they can maintain a grip on and
control of their members. This is a religion of bondage, and
not the one of liberty to which we the Children of God have
been called:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed
me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal
the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives,
and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them
that are bruised," (Luke 4:18)

"Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from
the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the
children of God. (Romans 8:21)

"Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the
Lord is, there is liberty." (2 Corinthians 3:17)

"And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who
came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in
Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:"
(Galatians 2:4)

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath
made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of
bondage." (Galatians 5:1)

"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the
servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of
the same is he brought in bondage." (2 Peter 2:19)

While this may be offensive to some, I personally do not
need a religion of bondage...and this is what many modern
churches are. They do exactly what the above verses say.
Some of them claim that if you don't belong to them, then
you are not even saved. Some say that they are God's Endtime
church. Some say that their leader(s) whether Pope, Apostle,
or Prophet, are God's final authoritative voice on matters
of faith. Some say you must be water-baptized by them to be
saved. Rules, rules, rules! Bondage, bondage, bondage! It
certainly isn't what Jesus preached or advocated...at least
not in my Bible. My Bible simply says:

"...Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be
saved, and thy house." (Acts 16:31)

There is only one concession I might be willing to make
here. As stated above, there is a possibility that being
sealed by the Spirit and being filled by the Spirit, might
be two separate things. Perhaps we are sealed with the
Spirit of redemption at the moment we accept Christ's
atonement; but unless we have intentions of dedicating our
lives to Christ, perhaps we don't need to actually be filled
with the Spirit through a secondary experience. Afterall,
the whole purpose of it is to receive added power and
anointing above and beyond the norm. That is why the Spirit
was given to Jesus without measure:

"For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for
God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him." (John

This is clearly exemplified by the following verses:

"And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had
gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said,
Who touched my clothes?" (Mark 5:30)

"And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went
virtue out of him, and healed them all." (Luke 6:19)

"And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive
that virtue is gone out of me." (Luke 8:46)

When we minister to others in some way, we are expending a
lot of spiritual energy. Those of you like myself who engage
in these types of ministries will know exactly what I am
talking about. It is a spiritual and a physical drain to
keep pouring out to others on a continual basis. We cannot
do it on our own. Without that added spark of inspiration
and The Power flowing through us like light through a prism,
our words and our work will become cold and dead, and they
won't move anyone. This is what happened to ancient Israel,
and this is what has happened to many within modern
Christianity. If what we say or do does not move anyone to
accept the Lord or to dedicate themselves to Him, or if it
does not at least prick their conscience in some way, or
shake them up and wake them up to some truth, then perhaps
we are lacking the Spirit and just working in our own
strength and wisdom.

In my particular case, because of the folks I was associated
with many years ago, I did go through the process of the
laying on of hands to receive the Holy Ghost as a secondary
experience several months after having acknowledged the Lord
through a salvation prayer. But, there was no water involved.

On a final note, in looking back to past experiences, I do
recall instances where I have prayed with persons who may
have received a water baptism in some church, but who were
not absolutely sure if they had accepted the Lord, or if
they had been filled with the Holy Spirit. In most
instances, these were Catholics in Latin America who had
been baptised as small children. We are told that we are to
make sure we know we are saved:

"These things have I written unto you that believe on the
name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have
eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son
of God." (1 John 5:13)

"Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and
stedfast,..." (Hebrews 6:19a)

We should all be sure of our salvation. If you are not sure
you are saved, well, pray again and rededicate yourself to
the Lord, and make sure. More importantly, make sure someone
gives you a strong foundation in the Word so that you know
that once you are saved, you are always saved. Once you open
your heart and life to Jesus, you are His forever. You don't
need to keep praying over and over again fearing you have
lost your salvation. Salvation isn't a matter of good works
as I have said many times. It is a matter of faith in what
Jesus did for you. Once you accept that, it is as He said:

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him
that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:37)

When you accept Him, He hallows you about with His Holy
Spirit and you are marked as His forever. In addition, you
are sealed and protected from the wrath to come.

In conclusion, I have presented what I personally believe
may be true regarding the meaning of the word 'baptism' and
its relationship to the Holy Ghost. Based on the scriptural
evidence presented, each of you is going to have to answer
these questions for yourself: Is baptism a submersion in
water as a symbolic act necessary for salvation? Is baptism
the act of laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit? Is
baptism a totally spiritual event simultaneously brought
about by our acceptance of Jesus Christ?

Whatever your answers are to these questions, the main one
is: Are you saved and sealed and healed and filled? I sure
hope so. Make sure you are His before it is too late!

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