Friday, April 6, 2018

88 - Christ's Ascension

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Mat. 28:19.

Make Disciples and Baptize


Not everyone who is called to preach is automatically called to baptize.  Paul wrote I thank God that I didn't baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius.  Also, I did baptize the family of Stephanas, but I don't remember if I baptized anyone else. Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to tell the good news. 1 Co 1:14-17.

baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Over the centuries the church has placed overbearingly much stress on using these exact words when baptizing someone.  As if any other phrase would invalidate the baptism.

There is not even one incident, recorded in the entire New Testament, where any of the disciples, or anyone else, like Paul, ever baptized anyone in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

In the New Testament the baptismal formula reads like this:

Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Act 2:38

they (some Samaritans had) been baptized in the name of Christ Jesus. Acts 8:14-16.


he (Peter) commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord (here the word Lord can mean, Mr; sir; controllerStrong G2962; it does not mean "God").  Acts 10:48

when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Acts 19:5

Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Rom. 6:3.

Over the years much has been made of the "mode of baptism".  Some sprinkle, some pour and some immerse.  Some base their eternal salvation on whether or not they are baptized and on how they were baptized. 

Some of those who insist that real baptism can only be done by immersion in water seem to overlook a few Biblical facts.  They insist that the word baptize means to immerse completely and yet that word baptize is the same word that is used when people are baptized by the holy spirit, in which case people are neither completely immersed nor is there necessarily any water present.

Another point is that Paul wrote that the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, when they left Egypt, were baptized into Moses.  Considering that Paul referred to that passage in Exodus it seems that he did not think that immersion in water was required for baptism: all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 1 Cor.10:1-2.  This he says in spite of the fact that the writer of Exodus wrote He (Jehovah) made the sea dry land, and the waters divided. And the sons of Israel came into the middle of the sea on dry ground. Exodus 14:21-22. They didn't even get their feet wet and yet the word Paul uses is, baptised.


Christ's Ascension



until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 
to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. Acts 1:2-3. 

N
ow after He said these things, while they were beholding Him, He was lifted up, and a cloud withdrew Him from their eyes. 
And while they looked intently into heaven, while He was going, behold, two men stood along side them in white apparel, 
who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him going into heaven." Acts 1:9-11

He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many convincing proofs.  There are no less than thirteen different appearances of Jesus to his disciples (after His resurrection, over a period of forty days) recorded. [Barnes]

The historical proofs that Jesus "rose from the dead" are there.  The problem is that 2000 years have dimmed the reality of His resurrection in our societies.  In the meantime, our way of seeing things has dramatically changed so that what seemed so important to the very early Church holds hardly any fascination for us.

appearing to them during forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.  To the very end of His life on earth, Christ kept on explaining, to His disciples, the truths of the kingdom of God.  Forty days after His resurrection Christ was standing with His disciples and He was lifted up, and a cloud withdrew Him from their eyes. 

Based on all the evidence, in the Bible, that space ships and aliens are involved with the bible story it is easy to imagine that when Christ was lifted up He was "beamed up" to a UFO hiding just above the cloud which the disciples saw!

I
f we believe that He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, where do we find the problem with believing that He is coming back?  Is it because His promise is 2000 year old?  That is a poor excuse; Jehovah does not count time as we do.


Time For A Break



In the last 88 posts, we have examined some of the highlights in our Redeemer's life as they are recorded in the three synoptic gospels.

In many cases, we have looked at various opinions that have been expressed by other Bible teachers.

T
he idea that I tried to stress throughout is that we must not blindly follow our teachers. We, ourselves, must do our own thinking, we must Think Again.  We must not be afraid to leave the, not thought through, doctrines that our teachers, with closed minds, have taught us.  I have learned from experience that this is a very difficult thing to do!

I express my deepest thank you to all of you who have followed me in this blog.  The +1's, the comments and the re-sharing have been most encouraging. Good bye.