Did you know that Baptism is pagan in origin? After this post you will understand what Real Baptism is and what it is not.
Let us begin with the History of Baptism
1. Tablets of Maklu- Ancient Babylon
In ancient Babylon, according to the Tablets of Maklu, water was important as a spiritual cleansing agent in the cult of Enke, lord of Eridu.
*** Originally, Enki (then known as Enkig) was a Sumerian deity of fresh water and patron of the city of Eridu, considered by the Mesopotamians the first city established at the beginning of the world. The god first appears in the Early Dynastic Period IIIa (c. 2600-2350 BCE) and was established as an important god of the Akkadians by c. 2400 BCE who knew him as Ea. Excavations at Eridu, however, have uncovered evidence of a tradition of shrines to Enki dating back to the founding of the city c. 5400 BCE. At Eridu he was known as Enki and later, at Akkad, as Ea; the two names are used interchangably for the same deity as is the Babylonian name Nudimmud. Enki was known as Ninsiku only in his aspect as patron of crafts and art, especially objects devoted to divine subjects.
2. Cult of Cybele- Rome
Cybele was one of many cults that appeared in Rome. Some were considered harmless, the Cult of Isis for example, and allowed to survive while others, like Bacchus, were seen as a serious threat to the Roman citizens and was persecuted. Of course, almost all of these cults disappeared with the arrival of Christianity when Rome became the center of this new religion. The Cult of Cybele lasted until the 4th century CE, at which time Christianity dominated the religious landscape and pagan beliefs and rituals gradually became transformed or discarded to suit the new faith.
The cult Cybele, the "Magna Mater, the Mother Goddess of Phrygia, was brought to Rome in 205/4 BCE. The Goddess was served by self-emasculated priests known as galli. Until the emperor Claudius, Roman citizens could not become priests of Cybele, but after that worship of her and her lover Attis took their place in the state cult. One aspect of the cult was the use of baptism in the blood of a bull, a practice later taken over by Mithraism.
3. Baptism of Immortality- Greek
The property of immortality was also associated with baptism in the ancient Greek world. A bath in the sanctuary of Trophonion procured for the initiate a blessed immortality even while in this world. The mystery religions of that period often included ablution rites of either immersion or a washing of the body for the purposes of purification or initiation. Other concepts said to have been associated with these forms of cultic baptisms included the transformation of one's life, the removal of sins, symbolic representation, the attainment of greater physical vitality, a new beginning, spiritual regeneration. It is believed that all ancient religions recognized some form of spiritual cleansing, renewal or initiation that was accomplished through a washing or immersion in water.
4. Mithraism- Indo-Iranian
Mithraism, the worship of Mithra, the Iranian god of the sun, justice, contract, and war in pre-Zoroastrian Iran. Known as Mithras in the Roman Empire during the 2nd and 3rd centuries ce, this deity was honoured as the patron of loyalty to the emperor. After the acceptance of Christianity by the emperor Constantine in the early 4th century, Mithraism rapidly declined.
Roman Mithraism, like Iranian Mithraism, was a religion of loyalty toward the king. It seems to have been encouraged by the emperors, especially Commodus (180–192), Septimius Severus (193–211), and Caracalla (211–217). Most adherents of Mithra known to us from inscriptions are soldiers of both low and high rank, officials in the service of the emperor, imperial slaves, and freedmen (who quite often were very influential people)—persons who probably knew which god would lead them to quick promotion.
Mithraism was popular in the Roman Empire with many Emperors following, not just the populace. It had seven sacraments, the same as the Catholic Church, baptism, and communion with bread and water. The Eucharist hosts were signed with a cross, an ancient phallic symbol which originated in Egypt, and the Egyptian cross (the ankh) still shows the original form which included the female symbol.
“More important even than the Vedic and Zoroastrian influences, the Mithras cult had a strong impact on Christianity. Mithras was the son of Ormuzd, and as a god of light himself, he engaged the powers of darkness, Ahriman and his host, in a bitter struggle. Mithras triumphed and cast his adversaries into the nether world. Mithras, too, raised the dead and will find them at the end of time. He, too, will relegate the wicked to hell and establish the millennial kingdom. [...]
Baptism by Water: Many god-man cults involved baptism by water; from the sprinkling of holy water to full immersion. "In the mysteries of Mithras initiates underwent repeated baptisms to wash away their sins. Such initiations took place in March or April, at exactly the same time that in later centuries Christians also baptized their new converts, called 'catechumens'""The Jesus Mysteries" by Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy (1999)
This enabled Emperor Constantine to merge the cult of Mithra with that of Christianity that was developing much. He declared himself a Christian but at the same time maintained his ties to the Mithra cult. He retained the title "Pontifus Maximus" the high priest. On his coins were inscribed: "Sol Invicto comiti" which means, commited to the invincible sun. This new blend of the two faiths, he officially proclaimed as Christianity. Christianity spread all over the Roman Empire and Eastern Europe by massive persecution and brought an end to a variety of religions that flourished there.
Why did John Baptize?
You cannot find the word baptism or any of its derivatives in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). Baptism was not an official part of Judaism as it reshaped itself during and after the Exile in Babylon (most of the sixth century B.C.). Baptism was, however, practiced unofficially by some Jewish people in the century before and after Jesus’ birth.
In this context, baptism was a sign of general repentance and thus could be repeated (as altar calls can be among Protestants). At Qumran on the west side of the Dead Sea, the Jews known as Essenes practiced a baptism of repentance during Jesus’ lifetime. Some scholars think this group may have influenced John’s ministry.
Around the same time, ritual baths for purification became more common among Jews in urban areas. These were obviously not possible during the desert years under Moses. If you go to the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem today, you can see houses with ritual baths dating back almost 20 centuries.
Eventually, some confusion arose concerning the baptism conferred by John the Baptist and the Sacrament of Baptism given by Jesus’ disciples. In Matthew 3:11, John describes his baptism as being “with water” while Jesus’ Baptism will be “with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
In Acts 8:14-17, the apostles in Jerusalem send Peter and John to baptize some Samaritans who had been baptized “in the name of the Lord Jesus” but had not yet been baptized with the Holy Spirit.
John was called to preach by God, armed only with the Word of God (Luke 3:2). Jesus tells us that the baptism that John taught was from heaven, not from men ( Matt 21:25). When John preached a baptism for the remission of sins, the people heard and obeyed. They submitted to the baptism that had been authorized by God. It was the first time in human history in which a person had the opportunity to be baptized for the remission of his sins, pagan and Jewish religious customs, notwithstanding.
A necessary refinement in the administration of baptism had to be made following the death of Jesus, however, as Acts 19:1-7 points out. Rather than submitting to the baptism of John, which was a baptism of repentance, we can now be baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.
What does Baptism mean?
G907- βαπτίζω baptízō, bap-tid'-zo; from a derivative of G911; to immerse, submerge; to make whelmed (i.e. fully wet); used only (in the New Testament) of ceremonial ablution, especially (technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism:—Baptist, baptize, wash.
I indeed baptize G907 you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize G907 you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
And Jesus, when he was baptized, G907 went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
To get a better understanding of the word baptism let us look at the actual definition
Immerse defined by the Oxford Dictionary:
1. involve oneself deeply in a particular activity or interest
(so if we involve ourselves with Abba Yah/ The Lord God Almighty, then we will be baptized in Him and we will become One with Him via the Holy Spirit who Merges us To Him)
Immerse Etymology defined by Merriam Webster
1. Middle English, from Latin immersus, past participle of immergere, from in- + mergere to merge
Submerge defined by Oxford Dictionary:
1. completely cover or obscure
(When we are immersed in Abba Yah, we our flesh and this world becomes completely covered in Him we our flesh becomes obscured- keep from being seen; conceal
c. 1600 (transitive), from French submerger (14c.) or directly from Latin submergere "to plunge under, sink, overwhelm," from sub "under" (see sub-) + mergere "to plunge, immerse"
Whelm defined by Merriam Webster
1. to turn (something, such as a dish or vessel) upside down usually to cover something : cover or engulf completely with usually disastrous effect
(When we become Reborn, This world becomes foreign to us and hates us. This is disastrous to those who are not of Yah as the Holy Spirit now Resides in us and we have the authority of Yah to use His power to transform lives)
2. to overcome in thought or feeling
( when whelmed by Yah our thoughts and feelings in the flesh are overcome by His Thoughts and Feelings for we are His vessels)
early 14c., probably from a parallel form of Old English -hwielfan (West Saxon), -hwelfan (Mercian), in ahwelfan "cover over;" probably altered by association with Old English helmian "to cover," from Proto-Germanic *hwalbjan, from PIE *kuolp- "to bend, turn"
So “baptism” does not inherently include any idea of getting dunked under water, but rather refers to being immersed, overwhelmed, or overcome by something else. It means you are no longer who you were before, and are now fully identified with something or someone else. That someone is the Lord God Almighty/ Abba Yah!!
We also need to understand the word ceremony:
1.formal religious or public occasion, typically one celebrating a particular event or anniversary.
2. the ritual observances and procedures performed at grand and formal occasions
Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation – The Conclusion Is baptism necessary for salvation? If the question is concerning water baptism, the answer is no. We are not saved by ritual or works but by "grace through faith." "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). Therefore, water baptism does not save us. However, the baptism of the Spirit is necessary for salvation and that has nothing whatever to do with water and it is not something we do for ourselves, it is God's gift to us at the moment we are born again.
If water baptism were not necessary for salvation, why then would someone be baptized? Baptism is an outward action based on an inward reality. Baptism is a testimony that the participant has trusted in Christ as Savior and they are identifying himself/herself by submitting themselves to baptism. We cannot rest our hope of salvation on something that we can do for ourselves, rather we must recognize our need of a Savior and accept the LORD Jesus Christ's finished work for our redemption. That finished work is that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and three days later rose from the dead. Then, if we chose to be baptized, it is an act of testimony to others of the reality of our personal identification with Christ.
How do you Baptize without Water?
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
G3100- Teach: αθητεύω mathēteúō, math-ayt-yoo'-o; from G3101; intransitively, to become a pupil; transitively, to disciple, i.e. enrol as scholar:—be disciple, instruct, teach.
We are to instruct them in the Ways of Abba Yah, changing them, covering them and flipping them upside down with Truth of Yah's Word in The Name of Yah ,Yahusha and the Holy Ruach. Water is not needed.
More information on Essenes
More Information on John the Baptist