Is baptism just an initiation into a church, or is it truly important for salvation?

Did you know that there is a proper method for, and Name into which you must be baptized? (Also see “The Authority to Baptize”)

The New Testament’s basic message to mankind is that our salvation is anchored to Yahshua the Messiah, the One God sent to earth for a living example and the One Who died for the sins of the world. He became the Author of eternal salvation to all that obey Him, Hebrews 5:9.

In Acts 10:48 we read, “And he commanded them to be baptized into the name of Yahshua,” HNB. Some have rejected that simple command to be baptized into the saving Name of Yahshua, much as Naaman refused the prophet’s command to dip in the Jordan River to be healed of leprosy. Naaman argued in his rebellion that other foreign rivers are just as good, 2Kings 5:1-14.
At times those claiming humbly to follow the Bible have “reasoned” as Naaman initially that it is neither necessary nor logical to be immersed into Yahshua’s Name when they already have been baptized in the name of “Jesus” or perhaps in the titles of Father, Son and Holy Ghost years ago while in the churches. But titles are not names. We find no power or promises in titles.
When we come to a better understanding of the Bible, we should do everything possible to fulfill all righteousness. One very important act is to be immersed “into the only name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved,” Acts 4:12 .
The name Jesus carries no such meaning, and titles alone have no legal obligation on any contract. Through baptism we enter the covenant of God.
The Problem with Matthew 28
Matthew 28:19-20 is questioned by reputable scholars as the authentic formula for baptism. Every example in Acts shows that the candidate is immersed into the single Name, Yahshua, not a trinitarian formula. A trinity or triad of deities is found in almost all pagan religions, and the concept of a Christian trinity likely sprang from an attempt to please pagan converts.
Matthew 28:19-20 commands immersing into “the name,” singular. The Jerusalem Bible, a Catholic publication, admits this verse is spurious and had likely crept into the text from liturgical usage. This same finding is expressed in “World Religions,” “The Encyclopedia of Religion & Ethics,” “New Schaff Herzog Religious Encyclopedia,” “Hastings Dictionary of the Bible,” and other sources.
Examples in the Book of Acts
Take note of THE NAME into which the converts are to be immersed in the examples from The Holy Name Bible:
– Repent, and be immersed 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, Acts 2:38.
– Neither is there salvation in any other: For there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved, Acts 4:12 .
– For as yet [the Holy Spirit] was fallen upon none of them: only they were immersed into the Name of Yahshua the Messiah, Acts 8:16 .
– And he commanded them to be immersed into the Name of Yahshua, Acts 10:48.
– When they heard this, they were baptized into the Name of Yahshua the Messiah, Acts 19:5.
– And now why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on His Name, Acts 22:16.
It is apparent from the above record found in Acts that the Apostles immersed all repentant believers into the single, saving Name of Yahshua the Messiah. The Savior and His disciples naturally spoke Hebrew. Acts 26:14-15 also reveals the Savior spoke to Paul in Hebrew. Acts 9:5 reads, “I am Yahshua of Nazareth whom thou persecutest…”
The hybrid name Jesus came much later through garbled translations.
Buried With Yahshua
Paul emphasizes that baptism is into the Name of Yahshua as given Him from on high. “Know you not, that so many of us as were immersed into Yahshua the Messiah were immersed into His death?” Romans 6:3. He continues, “Therefore we are buried with Him by immersion into death: that like as the 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.
Paul continues through the next several verses pointing out that we consecrate our lives for the Savior. And as we strive for righteousness, sin has no dominion over us, for we are not under the penalty of the law, but under grace.
Paul again emphasizes the one Name into which we are baptized, 1Corinthians 1:11 -13. There he asks, “Is Messiah divided? Was Paul impaled for you? Were you immersed in the name of Paul?” He is demonstrating that we are immersed into one Name, the Name of Yahshua!
Heirs Through Yahshua
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul reveals that those who have been immersed into Yahshua have put on the Messiah. We are all made one in Him and are Abraham’s seed, being heirs according to the promise. “For you are all the children of God by faith in Messiah Yahshua. For as many of you as have been baptized into Messiah have put on Messiah. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Messiah Yahshua. And if you be Messiah’s then are you Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise,”
Galatians 3:26-29.
Proper baptism into the true Name of the Savior of Israel is a definite and emphatic command of the Savior Himself, and is as essential to salvation as any of the other commands of the Bible. Peter’s sermon to those assembled at Jerusalem convicted them of their guilt and moved them into action. “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.
If repentance is necessary for the remission of sins, so is proper baptism. “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be condemned,” Mark 16:16 .
Putting On The Messiah
The Bible teaches that we have not even taken the final step which puts us into the Body of Messiah until we have been scripturally baptized. Paul states, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Messiah have put on Messiah,” Galatians 3:27. By being immersed into the saving Name of Yahshua, we have in effect put on His righteousness. Yahshua said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,
he cannot enter into the kingdom of God ,” John 3:5.
Arguments Some Advance
At times the argument is given, “But I already received the Holy Spirit when I was immersed into the common titles long before I knew the name.” There is no argument over a change having come about for the better. But why would one hang back and refuse the clear command of Scripture? Why not do all one can to fulfill all righteousness?
We learn that even those who may already have been given of God’s Spirit are still required to be immersed into Yahshua’s saving Name. Note Peter’s comments in Acts 10:47-48, “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized which have received the Holy Spirit as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Yahshua the Messiah…” The family of Cornelius already had the Holy Spirit, which came as Peter talked, yet were still required to be baptized!
Precious Name Yahshua
Being immersed into Yahshua’s saving Name has far greater importance and meaning than is generally perceived. Yahshua proclaimed, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me,” John 14:6. John 10:9 states that Yahshua is the “door” of the sheepfold. Only through Yahshua is the Holy Spirit given us. The Spirit is first given to Yahshua as we see in Acts 2:33: “Therefore, being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has shed forth this, which you now see and hear.” The Holy Spirit is channeled to mankind in the Name of Yahshua. Notice John 14:26: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name…” The Savior had to go to the heavens so that the Spirit could be available to mankind through Yahshua. “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send [it] unto you,” John 16:7.
The Holy Spirit is given by God only through Yahshua’s saving Name. “Neither is salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved,” Acts 4:12 . See Titus 3:4-6.
Receiving of His indwelling Spirit is one manifestation. In taking on His true Name we become a part of His Body. We become a part of the family called by God’s Name (Ephesians 3:14 -15).
True Repentance
The first step in being baptized is to repent. “Repent” in the New Testament is from the Greek metanoeo, which means to change one’s mind, and also to regret, feel remorse over the view previously held, to think differently afterwards. The call for repentance and the promise of forgiveness is followed by turning to the ways of God with a full heart. It means more than just feeling sorry, or changing one’s mind, but a turning around; a complete change of goals and motivation in one’s life.
Which Age Is Appropriate?
This means that babies and children are not yet mature enough to comprehend the meaning of baptism and do not understand fully the meaning of repentance. It is only upon reaching maturity that they are considered responsible for their actions. According to God’s Word, that age is twenty years. Some mature before reaching that age, and others are immature long after. God feels that by the time His people have reached the age of twenty they are then responsible.
How do we know 20 is the age?
In the Old Testament, those age twenty and over died in the wilderness because they did not believe God’s promises and refused to cross over the Jordan River , Numbers 14:29. Ages nineteen and under were spared. (There are more examples showing that twenty is the Bible age of maturity, including the age the men were numbered and went into the military). As long as children live with their believing parents, God sees to it they are under His protective umbrella (1Cor. 7:14 ).
Immersion Is a Burial
Briefly, the only acceptable baptism is done by complete immersion. When the King James Bible was being translated, the question of translating the Greek word baptizo presented a problem. Baptizing practices inherited from the Roman church included sprinkling and pouring, but baptizo clearly meant to immerse or dip. Not knowing how to properly represent this word in English, the translators consulted the king. His decision was to transliterate the Greek baptizo into the English text, not to translate!
Other Greek words could have been used if pouring or sprinkling were proper. Please note the following:
– Baptizo means “to immerse” or “dip.”
– Cheo means “to pour.”
– Rhantizo means “to sprinkle.”
The writers of the New Testament did not use “cheo” or “rhantizo” in any reference to the necessary act of salvation!
The evidence from the Bible shows baptisms all took place where there was an abundance of water for immersing.
John the Baptist ministered in Aenon “because there was much water there,” John 3:23 . Yahshua Himself “came up out of the water, He saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him,” Mark 1:10 . Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water, and then “they were come up out of the water, ”Acts 8:38 -39. If all they needed was a cupful of water, there would have been no need to both go down into it!
Laying On Of Hands
Baptism cleanses one from all sins. At the moment of baptism the individual stands before God as if he or she had never sinned. This is known as justification and means one is justified in the cleansing work of the Savior. All sins are washed away. But we still have the carnal nature to overcome, and there remains another requirement
following baptism that we are to perform. Known as “the laying on of hands,” this on-going practice was carried out by the presbytery since the early assembly in Jerusalem . Acts 8:17 shows that the laying on of hands by the
Apostles made it possible for the receiving of the Holy Spirit. Acts 9:17 records how Ananias laid hands on Paul who then received his sight and was filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote to young Timothy, “Neglect not the gift that is in you, which was given you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” Thus, we learn that believers are given a special gift of the Holy Spirit to uplift and strengthen the assembly. Paul laid hands upon Timothy for the gift, 2Timothy 1:6.
Only One True Baptism
Ephesians 4:5 teaches there is one Master, one faith, one baptism. The “one baptism” is the baptism into Yahshua the Messiah for the remission of sins. All other baptisms are more or less baptisms of repentance — a type of John’s baptism where one has gone as far as one knows at that time. But now that we understand we are to be immersed into the “only name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved,” every effort must be made to be immersed into Yahshua’s Name for the remission of sins.
Such baptism is the highest on earth. There is nothing higher, and there is no need to be baptized all over again as is often done in the churches. Yahshua’s saving Name stands preeminently above all names.
The Spirit Within
Being immersed into Yahshua’s Name and having hands laid on by the Elders of the Assembly means one is immersed into Yahshua’s Body. The Holy Spirit is given to those baptized and from that point onward; the very Spirit or power of God is within that individual. We are then to set our hearts on the gifts of the Spirit. Paul urges the believer to seek those things that edify and lift up the assembly. He does not encourage speaking in tongues (1Cor
14:5). Paul says that tongues are a sign for the unbeliever, but inspired preaching is intended for them which believe, 1Cor 14:22 (write for more literature on tongues). Paul goes on to say that he who seeks insight into God’s Word is greater.
Why Do You Wait?
The more we study and learn of God, the greater is our responsibility. We are more accountable for the knowledge God has revealed to us through His Word. We are not to sit idly by and do nothing. Ours is the responsibility of the “great commission” to teach all nations His truth.
If you have not been immersed into Yahshua’s saving Name you need to be. Even Yahshua, who was perfect, was baptized by John to show His complete obedience. You have nothing to lose and the Kingdom to gain by being willingly obedient in all things, as was our Savior in His example for us. If you have questions about baptism or personal problems about which you need counseling, get in touch with us.
We speak plainly about sin, about the coming tribulation, about the high calling we have in Yahshua, to be a part of His “Ekklesia” — the called out ones — to rule, and that mankind should repent and change his ways so that he learns of the ways Yahshua has laid down for us.
Yahshua is choosing His own who willingly are baptized into His name and seek for that first resurrection to be with Him in the coming Kingdom. Then, as a part of that spiritual body of Messiah, our task will be to reach out and help others to come to a saving knowledge of His ways. We are to do what we can to win others to the Messiah. Supporting those who are doing this work with tithes and offerings makes it possible for the Good News to expand and go out with growing power to those who are seeking truth both in this hemisphere and around the world.
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