The Five Baptisms
By Pastor F. M. Riley
December 8, 2012
”The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee.
The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.
John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
And there went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;
And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
I indeed have baptized you with water: but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost [Spirit].
The message you are about to read was first preached as a sermon on March 9, 1997 by this writer. It was recorded on cassette tape by my beloved, faithful Helen [now with the Lord] as I preached the message. Copies of this tape are still available to any reader who still has a cassette player and would like to hear the message as originally preached. Just request the tape and send me a correct mailing address and it will be my blessing to send it to you. No cost or obligation whatsoever.
This study sets forth a Biblical truth that very few Christian people have ever studied and therefore are not aware of; the five baptisms clearly taught in the inspired Word of God. My prayer is that the Lord God will bless this study to the hearts and lives of His people, and to the salvation of the lost.
Since our subject isabout “baptism,”then it is only fitting that the word be defined for our readers. The English word “baptism” is translated from the Greek word, “baptizo.” This Greek word literally means “to dip, plunge under, submerge, or immerse.” See Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, page 94, Strong’s No. 907. I have a copy of the KJV Hebrew-Greek Study Bible with editing and notes by Spiros Zodhiates, who is a natural born Greek and a Christian believer. Few people can be deceived about the meaning of their own native language. Brother Zodhiates, in his notes, is adamant about the word “baptize” meaning to “dip, plunge under, immerse, or completely submerge.”
The Word “baptize” NEVER means to “sprinkle or pour” If all any reader has for baptism is that some deceiver once sprinkled or poured some water on your head while calling it “baptism,” then you don’t have baptism! You have never been baptized!
Now having defined the actual, literal, meaning of the word “baptizo,” or as translated, “baptize,” I invite our readers to join us for a Scripturally enlightening study…….
No. 1…….Baptism of Repentance
Notice that Mark’s gospel begins with the inspired expression, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” This is the only one of the four gospels that begins with such a statement. What better place to begin this study than exactly where the inspired Word of God clearly states that the “gospel of Jesus Christ” begins? The seven verses of Scripture which follow [2-8] describe the ministry of John the Baptist, yet these Scriptures are loaded with spiritual truths for the benefit of God’s people.
Verse 4 sets before us the first baptism [and the only baptism] which is absolutely necessary for salvation. This Scripture tells us that John preached “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” In other words, here is the inspired Scripture that clearly states that every true seeking soul MUST be immersed in repentance before they can be saved. No immersion in repentance; no salvation! Take it to heart! If any reader is not truly sorry for the sins they committed against our gracious God, and have not confessed their sins to God and received His Son as the payment for their sins, then I have Scriptural reason to question the reality of your salvation. The “gospel of Jesus Christ” begins with “the baptism of repentance,” and without this baptism no one can be saved. Are you listening?
But let me make it very clear that “the baptism of repentance” is an inward “work of grace” that the Lord God does in the heart and soul of a person who is truly sorry for their sins against our Holy God. It is not a work that you do, but rather a work of God which you receive into your heart and soul. Praise the Lord! I urge every reader of this study to do some serious heart searching and ask themselves if they have ever experienced true “Godly sorrow” for their sins against our righteous and holy Heavenly Father, and our Savior, Jesus Christ, 2 Corinthians 7:10.
Folks, when I was saved as a young boy of 11 years of age, I knew through hearing a faithful “man of God” preach the Word, and under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, that I was a guilty sinner, lost and on the way to hell in my sin, Romans 10:17; John 16:7-11. I cried out to God right there and asked Him to have mercy on me and forgive my sins and give me his salvation. I repented of my sin at that moment and the Lord God graciously saved my soul, and yes, my tears flowed freely with thanksgiving and praise for my Lord and Savior. The guilt and burden of sin was instantly lifted and for the first time in my life I felt clean and holy. At that moment I was experiencing “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Glory to God! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Thank you Lord Jesus!
Now I must ask every reader…..have you experienced “the baptism of repentance” for the remission of your sins? Read 2 Corinthians 13:5 and 2 Peter 1:10. You MUST have this baptism if you intend to spend eternity with the Lord Jesus and His people, Acts 20:20-21.
No 2…….Baptism in Water
Our readers should also notice in this text that John the Baptist immersed in water all those who believed his message and by faith received the One [the promised Messiah] whom John proclaimed was coming after him. At this point we need to know something about the Scriptural meaning and significance of water baptism. Just how important is it to the true believer?
 First, water baptism is a burial, Romans 6:2-7; Genesis 23:1-4. Folks, this baptism is for those true believers who are “alive in Christ,” but “dead to sin.” Water baptism is one of the two rituals given to New Covenant believers in the New Testament. While it is a ritual given by the Lord God Himself in Matthew 28:18-20, it has deep spiritual significance. When the new born [saved] believer submits to water baptism, they are symbolically “burying” the old man with the Adamic “sin nature” and being raised from the watery grave to walk in their “new life” in Christ. As the pastor or some other member of the Lord’s local church performs that act of baptism on the one being baptized, the church is also obeying the commission given to it by the Lord Jesus Christ to baptize in water all those who have by faith in our crucified and risen Lord become His disciples.
 Second, water baptism is an act of obedience on the part of the true believer being baptized. Baptism is for believer’s only! Baptism does not do anything for a person still lost in their sins. Absolutely nothing! These self-deceived “religionists” today who think if they can just get to the waterhole and be dunked, that it will take care of everything that is wrong between them and God are only fooling themselves. There first has to be a change in the heart of the truly seeking believer before one can be saved, Romans 10:8-10. This change is wrought in the heart by “faith” in the Lord Jesus Christ as one’s personal Savior, Romans 10:17; Ephesians 2:8-9. By submitting to water baptism, true believers are only obeying what is specifically commanded of us in the inspired Word of God. But some reader may ask why? Here’s why…..
 Third, water baptism is a public confession of the believer’s faith in Christ. In the act of baptism we are publicly confessing our identification with the Lord Jesus Christ who died for us, was buried, and rose again to save us from our sins. We are publicly telling every person who witnesses our baptism in water that we are not ashamed to be identified with our wonderful Savior, Romans 10:11; Matthew 10:32-33; 1 John 5:4-8.
 Fourth, water baptism is “the answer of a good conscience towards God,” 1 Peter 3:21. Since it was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who commanded His disciples to submit to water baptism, then a refusal to do so on the part of a true believer is an act of willful disobedience. Such a believer can then never have a “clear conscience” towards the Lord until they repent and obey what He has specifically commanded in His Word. Christ Himself set the example for us when He submitted to water baptism, Matthew 3:13-17. What was Christ doing? As an obedient Son, He was being obedient to the will of His Heavenly Father, John 5:30; 14:10-11. The Heavenly Father must certainly have been highly pleased with Christ’ baptism, for following the Lord’s baptism in water the Heavenly Father specifically spoke from Heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” Matthew 3:17.
Folks, having been in the Lord’s ministry these many years, I have seen with my own eyes many wonderful things. I once witnessed the baptism of a dear man who had been saved as a young man but refused to be baptized. He later told me that he had believed it was just some sort of “foolish custom” of the churches and he couldn’t see that it did anything for anyone. But it always “knawed on his conscience” that he had not been baptized. Seventeen years after being saved, he finally submitted to water baptism. In entering the baptistry he confessed to the entire church body his disobedience to the Lord in not following His Lord in baptism, and said that he wanted to “make it right” between him and the Lord. The pastor then “buried him” in the watery grave of baptism in obedience to the Lord. When he came up from that water, that man came up shouting and clapping his hands and praising the Lord. He then told the church body that he finally had a “clear conscience” to go along with his salvation. After his baptism and testimony, two other men in that service came forward to receive Christ as their Savior. It was a glorious spiritual service that I have never forgotten.
Water baptism is not required for salvation, but does give the true believer a clean “conscience” in knowing that they have obeyed the Lord.
 Fifth, water baptism sets forth a promise of the resurrection, for it is a “likeness of His resurrection,” Romans 6:5. Just as Christ was raised from the dead, so the true believer is raised from the “watery grave” of baptism to walk in a new life. Even so, we believers will also be raised from the dead like our Lord, and be “caught up” to glory to live the new life the Lord God has prepared for us “in the ages to come,” Ephesians 2:7. Glory to God! Praise the Lord!
No. 3…….Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Our readers should also notice that in our text passage for this study John the Baptist clearly predicted that the Lord Jesus Christ would “baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” See the original statement in Matthew 3:11. Holy Spirit baptism is one of the most misunderstood and hotly debated doctrines in the ranks of Christianity today, but it shouldn’t be! The Scriptures are quite clear on the subject if those debating would simply accept what the inspired Word has to say, rather than trying to insert their own opinions and ideas into the subject.
The first clearly stated instance of Holy Spirit baptism recorded in the Scriptures was that which came upon the Lord’s church in Acts 2. Although it came upon the church suddenly, it did not come without warning. The Lord God Himself had explicitly told His church at least 10 days previously that they would receive such a baptism, Luke 24:40-49. Also compare John 14:16-17; 16:7-14, and Acts 1:4-5. Of course John the Baptist had predicted it three years earlier when he first began his ministry. So it came upon the Lord’s church as a promise from the Lord Himself.
Holy Spirit baptism is in perfect harmony with the meaning of the word translated as “baptize.” The word never means anything other than to immerse. If our readers will now look at Acts 2:1-2 the inspired Word says, “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.” Obviously, since the sound “filled all the house,” and they were sitting in the house, then they were literally immersed in and beneath the sound. It was above them, around them, and beneath them. They were literally immersed [baptized] in the Holy Spirit.
I want our readers to notice carefully that it was following this immersion in the Spirit that the disciples were then “filled” with the Spirit. In spite of the best efforts of some today to erase all distinctions between being “baptized by the Holy Spirit” and “filled with the Holy Spirit,” these are two completely different works of the Holy Spirit. Any true believer who will dedicate themselves to the Lord can be “filled with the Holy Spirit.” But being “baptized by the Holy Spirit” is a totally different work, primarily reserved for the Lord’s church; the body of Christ. When a true believer identifies with a true Scriptural church of the Lord Jesus, they become a partaker of the Holy Spirit baptism that was poured out upon the Lord’s church some 2,000 years ago. See 1 Corinthians 12:13.
I could say much more about this baptism, but I have already wrote enough on this subject to raise up all kinds of objections from different denominational and “religious” groups. If any of our readers really want to study what God’s Word has to say on the subject, then I will be glad to send you my in-depth study on Holy Spirit Baptism. Just write and request it.
No. 4…….The Baptism of Blood
This is a baptism that is rarely mentioned by most preachers and pastors, yet it is very real and has been throughout the history of Christianity. This baptism is not mentioned in the text used for this study, but rather is found in Mark 10:35-40. In verses 38-39 the Lord said to James and John, “…..Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? And be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto Him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized.” What “baptism” was Christ speaking of on this occasion? It should be obvious to any reader who truly knows the Lord.
Folks, when the Lord instituted the Lord’s Supper for His New Covenant Church, what did He say about “the cup?” See Matthew 26:27-28. In verse 28 the Lord explicitly stated, “For this is My blood of the New Covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” See also Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, and 1 Corinthians 11:25. In each of these Scripture passages “the cup” symbolizes the precious “ blood” of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the baptism that Christ was baptized with, which He spoke of to James and John. Our beloved Savior was literally immersed in His own blood at Calvary, as He suffered and bled and died to pay our sin debt and purchase our eternal redemption. Oh glory to God! Thank you precious Lord Jesus!
Have our readers ever seriously studied about the sufferings of Christ leading up to and during the crucifixion? He was subjected to a whipping with the Roman “scourge.” This was a whip with nine to twelve strips of leather. In the end of each strip was a sharp piece of metal. Each time the whip fell on the flesh the sharp pieces of metal cut into the flesh. If Christ was whipped according to Jewish Law, this would have meant that He received “forty stripes save one.” Medical doctors who have actually studied this account in depth claim that by the time the entire 39 lashes of the whip had been laid on Christ, the flesh on His entire back would have been cut away and His rib cage and shoulder bones totally laid bare. Blood would have been freely flowing by the time the seventh lash was laid on our Lord. Then a “crown of thorns” was placed on the head of Christ and beaten down with a rod. This would have ripped His entire scalp to pieces and caused His blood to literally flow from the top of His head down His face and over His already brutally abused body. At some point in this abuse a big Roman soldier grabbed Christ by His beard and swung Him back and forth by His beard until the entire lower part of His face simply pulled away and off from His skull. This is what is meant when the prophet Isaiah wrote, “The Lord God hath opened Mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave My back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not My face from shame and spitting,” Isaiah 50:5-6. But then the nails were driven into and through His hands and feet to hold His body to the cross. The final abuse was to thrust a spear into His side, and the Word tells us that when this was done out flowed blood and water. Our beloved Savior was literally immersed [baptized] in His own blood.
Keep in mind that the Lord told James and John that they would also be “baptized” with the same “baptism of blood” that the Lord was baptized with. Significantly, James did suffer martyrdom for being a follower of Christ as recorded in Acts 12:1-2. But what about John! Christian history tells us that John was brutally persecuted on more than one occasion, yet died peacefully of old age. Now remember that Christ Himself stated that both of the brothers would be “baptized in blood” like Christ Himself was. So how do we reconcile this? How many of our readers have ever even considered John as being one of God’s “two witnesses” during the coming Tribulation period? Well John will be, whether some want to believe it or not. If any reader wants the full details on this, then request my study on The Future Ministry of God’s Two Witnesses. John will yet experience his “baptism of blood” fulfilling the prediction of Christ to the letter.
I would remind our readers that hundreds of true Christian believers have experienced this “baptism of blood” through the centuries of this dispensation. In some of the countries dominated by “false religions” there are true believers today who are sealing their testimonies for Christ with their own blood. Will this come to America? Of course it will unless our Lord comes to resurrect and rapture His people to glory REAL SOON. The real “proof” of your “profession of faith” in Christ will be revealed in your willingness to lay down your life for Christ, even as He suffered and died for us. Would you be willing to experience “the baptism of blood” for your Lord? Just how much does Christ really mean to you? Be careful how you answer, for you may SOON get the chance to prove your answer by your actions. Are you ready?
No. 5…….The Baptism of Fire
The fifth and final baptism mentioned in the inspired Word was predicted by John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11, “I indeed baptize 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 you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” See also Luke 3:16.
Any student of God’s Word who has ever made a serious word study of the word “fire” throughout the Scriptures already knows that “fire” is one of the main features of the entire seven year Tribulation period. The whole Tribulation is characterized by one fiery judgment after another. It is specifically stated in Isaiah 24:4-6, “The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languiseth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.”
“Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and a horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup,” Psalm 11:6. Compare Genesis 19:24, Luke 17:28-29, and 2 Peter 2:6. It is too bad that men today refuse to pay attention to the example the Lord God graciously set before mankind at Sodom and Gomorrah. Again, compare Psalm 18:7-8, 18:12-13 and 21:8-9.
And what do the prophecies of both Joel and Peter predict in Joel 2:30 and Acts 2:19?
I could go on and set dozens of Scriptures before our readers about the “baptism of fire” which will occur during the Tribulation period. This “baptism of fire” will affect all of the nations on the face of the earth, but it is especially for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people in particular. This is exactly who John the Baptist was speaking to and about when he made his statement as recorded in Matthew 3:11. It is the presently unbelieving Jewish people who are going to experience the “baptism of fire.”
This “baptism of fire” will burn the dross off of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel during the coming Tribulation period, and the “remnant” who comes out of it will have been purged of their sin of unbelief and the dross of other sins that have clave to them over these past 3,500 years. Read it for yourself in Isaiah 48:10, Zechariah 13:8-9, and Malachi 3:1-3.
Our readers might also notice that this present dispensation ends and the Tribulation begins with “fire,” 2 Peter 3:10. No true New Covenant believer will ever experience this “baptism of fire” because our precious Lord God is coming to receive us to Himself and take us “home to glory” before these fiery judgments of the Tribulation begins, Titus 2:11-15; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Praise the Lord! Glory to God! Hallelujah!
Following is a brief synopsis of the five baptisms set forth in the Scriptures…..
 The baptism of repentance…….Mark 1:4…..This is a “spiritual baptism” which takes place in the heart and soul of the true believer, and is the ONLY baptism required for salvation.
 The baptism in water……Mark 1:8…..This is “believers baptism” which every true believer should partake of in obedience to and identification with Christ, but it is not required for salvation.
 The baptism of the Holy Spirit…….Mark 1:8…..This is also a “spiritual baptism” which came upon the Lord’s church as recorded in Acts 2. All believers who identify themselves with a true Scriptural church of the Lord Jesus Christ are partakers of this baptism. This baptism is not required for salvation.
 The baptism of blood…….Mark 10:38…..This is a literal “baptism in blood” of the true believer who lays down their life as a martyr for Christ Jesus our precious Savior. This “baptism in blood” is not required for salvation, and may or may not be required of a believer, depending on the existing circumstances. I would hope that any true believer would be willing to submit to this baptism if called upon by our Lord to do so.
 The baptism of fire…….Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16…..This is a baptism in literal fire that will come upon all unbelieving mankind and upon Israel and the Jewish people during the Tribulation period. The fire will burn up the wicked, and burn the dross off of the repentant, believing Jewish “remnant.” Glory to the God of Israel! Hallelujah!
May the Lord God be pleased to add His grace and blessings to this study and use it to bring lost seeking souls to a saving knowledge of Himself, and to build His people up in “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints,” Jude 3.
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Please address all comments, questions, and correspondence to: Pastor F. M. Riley, 184 County Road 108, Harrisburg, Missouri 65256, or I can be contacted by email at:
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