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Specifically who was Paul referencing in his mentioning of "baptism for the dead?"

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1 Corinthians 15: 29 Else what shall they do which are abaptized bfor the dead, if the dead crise not at all? why are they then baptized for the ddead?

So Paul is writing to the saints in Corinth.

He's referencing a practice/ordinance they were at least aware of if not familiar with.

Who is Paul referencing? Which group of saints (probably more than one?)?

Read somewhere that the font at Solomon's Temple wasn't used for baptisms for the dead (Levitical does not equal Melchezidek authority, for another thread, please.) :)

And Joseph Smith et al. didn't use a Temple for this ordinance at first, so a Temple wasn't required per se.

Hone’s Apocryphal New Testament which I haven't read, but believe some of you likely have, has some apocryphal references like Shepherd of Hermas, Acts of Paul and Thecla, and Gospel of Nicodemus 

 

 

 

Baptism for the Dead

  • what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, 1 Cor. 15:29.

  • baptized for those who are dead, D&C 124:29.

  • in relation to the baptism for your dead, D&C 127:5.

  • baptism for the dead, D&C 128:1.

  • vicarious baptism for the remission, D&C 138:33.

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Posted (edited)

There's not enough historic evidence to say much. Under our understanding there wouldn't have been baptisms for the dead simply because not only was the authority missing (Melchezedek) but the gates to the spirit world hadn't been opened yet so it'd have been pointless. What the early 1st century view of all this is tends to be extremely controversial among scholars although many have tended to see it as an orthodox practice in the Church of some sort - although they disagree upon how widespread it was or its theological significance. Some see it more as a syncretic practice tied to some Greek views. That's pretty speculative though. The main counterargument Protestants tend to use is that Paul uses they rather than we. However I confess that seems a bit weak particularly given its dependence upon the KJV language. In the NIV and RSV you don't get that distancing to the same degree. It's "people" rather than "they." 

I'd also add that Joseph didn't use a temple for the endowment (the Nauvoo temple wasn't completed until after his death). In early Utah there were endowment houses that weren't temples where endowments were done until temples were available. Presumably in early Christianity endowments were likewise done outside the temple. (Many see the ascent to the mountain with Peter, James and John by Jesus as giving them their endowments) Baptisms for the dead for the same reason would be done outside the temple. As you note initially they were just done in rivers until things were more standardized.

Edited by clarkgoble
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Apparently there was a group that was baptizing for the dead. Paul's reference to the practice was an affirmation of the resurrection. In his reference to the practice he used the third person plural they instead of the first person plural we. It would be silly to baptize for the dead if the resurrection wasn't real.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

There was nothing at all unusual about Jews sacrificing and praying at the Second Temple (Herod's) on behalf of the dead, and thus making intercession on behalf of those who had sinned, but who were now dead.  Indeed, according to the late non-LDS scholar James Barr, Paul's language in 1 Cor 15:29 is nearly identical to a particular instance of that in II Macc 12:44-45, and Paul probably had that very passage in mind.  Barr, Holy Scripture: Canon, Authority, Criticism (Phila.: Westminster Press, 1983), 40-43 n. 19.  Baptism is merely another form of intercession of the Saints.

That's a good point, although the question is the efficacy of such things. But I certainly agree it implies a spirit world and resurrection (which more or less is Paul's focus). 2 Macc 12:44-5 is frequently used as a proof-text within Catholicism for the idea of purgatory. For those reading not familiar with it, purgatory is sort of a halfway view that combined our view of the terrestrial kingdom with our view of spirit prison. Of course many protestants dislike the idea of purgatory nearly as much as they dislike the idea of baptism for the dead.

 

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4 hours ago, nuclearfuels said:

1 Corinthians 15: 29 Else what shall they do which are abaptized bfor the dead, if the dead crise not at all? why are they then baptized for the ddead?

So Paul is writing to the saints in Corinth.

He's referencing a practice/ordinance they were at least aware of if not familiar with.

Who is Paul referencing? Which group of saints (probably more than one?)?

Another question.

Why did Paul use term 'they' instead of 'we'?    

Thanks,
Jim

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3 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Under our understanding there wouldn't have been baptisms for the dead simply because not only was the authority missing (Melchezedek) but the gates to the spirit world hadn't been opened yet so it'd have been pointless.

Can you expound on these two ideas? Specifically:

-If the ancient church had the Priesthood necessary to do baptisms and confirmations (gift of Holy Ghost), then why couldn't they have done so for the dead if allowed by God? Couldn't this have been done under the Priesthood power they had (or the 'appendage of the Melch priesthood 'allowed to them)?

-What do you mean by Gates of the Spirit World hadn't been opened. My understanding is Christ taught and 'opened' the gates of the Spirit World immediately after his death. And after his resurrection saints started arising. Paul's Epistles happened much later. So what do you mean by this?

Thanks in advance :)

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5 hours ago, nuclearfuels said:

1 Corinthians 15: 29 Else what shall they do which are abaptized bfor the dead, if the dead crise not at all? why are they then baptized for the ddead?

So Paul is writing to the saints in Corinth.

He's referencing a practice/ordinance they were at least aware of if not familiar with.

Who is Paul referencing? Which group of saints (probably more than one?)?

Read somewhere that the font at Solomon's Temple wasn't used for baptisms for the dead (Levitical does not equal Melchezidek authority, for another thread, please.) :)

And Joseph Smith et al. didn't use a Temple for this ordinance at first, so a Temple wasn't required per se.

Hone’s Apocryphal New Testament which I haven't read, but believe some of you likely have, has some apocryphal references like Shepherd of Hermas, Acts of Paul and Thecla, and Gospel of Nicodemus 

 

 

 

Baptism for the Dead

  • what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, 1 Cor. 15:29.

  • baptized for those who are dead, D&C 124:29.

  • in relation to the baptism for your dead, D&C 127:5.

  • baptism for the dead, D&C 128:1.

  • vicarious baptism for the remission, D&C 138:33.

Great article 

https://www.fairmormon.org/archive/publications/baptism-for-the-dead-the-coptic-rationale

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4 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

There's not enough historic evidence to say much. Under our understanding there wouldn't have been baptisms for the dead simply because not only was the authority missing (Melchezedek) but the gates to the spirit world hadn't been opened yet so it'd have been pointless.

If Paul was referring to an ordinance instituted by Christ during the forty days with the church after his resurrection, those problems are moot. As you said, we do not have much historic evidence for it, but Peter's mention of preaching the gospel to the dead would seem to have some bearing on the subject, i.e. that Paul's reference was to an ordinance being practised by the the church. Paul's statement came at the end of a rebuttal against some unnamed people that were disputing the doctrine of the resurrection. This could have been introduced by Jewish converts that had been followers of the Sadducees,

Glenn

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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

That's a good point, although the question is the efficacy of such things. But I certainly agree it implies a spirit world and resurrection (which more or less is Paul's focus). 2 Macc 12:44-5 is frequently used as a proof-text within Catholicism for the idea of purgatory. For those reading not familiar with it, purgatory is sort of a halfway view that combined our view of the terrestrial kingdom with our view of spirit prison. Of course many protestants dislike the idea of purgatory nearly as much as they dislike the idea of baptism for the dead.

 

Hi Clark, and you too Robert...

I read through the Bible very slowly, like a page a day, and I miss days sometimes. Today I read 2 Macc. 12!

I have posted this here multiple times before. I can't write it all up again for sake of time, and I loaned my book out, and never got it back. But St. Francis deSales uses 1Cor. 15:29 as another proof text for purgatory against the Protestants and Luther in particular as I recall, who as you point out are not overly fond of purgatory. He points out that not all baptisms are of water, and being "baptized for the dead" means those efficacious works we perform on behalf of our dear departed.

1) It agrees with LDS that the dead can benefit from the living.

2) It agrees with LDS that the practise is orthodox, or as you guys like to say "orthopraxy".

I will see if I can find one of my old posts on this subject. I had never really considered that St. Paul had Maccabees in mind when he wrote I Cor. 15, Robert. The irony of that quote that you give above is that it is from Westminster Press. Very conservative Presbyterians. I am puzzled at their candor. But I appreciate it. Good on them...and you too! Thanks for making that connection for me. 

Rory

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4 hours ago, Anonymous Mormon said:

Can you expound on these two ideas? Specifically:-If the ancient church had the Priesthood necessary to do baptisms and confirmations (gift of Holy Ghost), then why couldn't they have done so for the dead if allowed by God? Couldn't this have been done under the Priesthood power they had (or the 'appendage of the Melch priesthood 'allowed to them)?

They could. I was referring to Robert's point about pre-Christian works for the dead within Judaism particularly during the second temple period.

4 hours ago, Anonymous Mormon said:

-What do you mean by Gates of the Spirit World hadn't been opened. My understanding is Christ taught and 'opened' the gates of the Spirit World immediately after his death. And after his resurrection saints started arising. Paul's Epistles happened much later. So what do you mean by this?

Yes, so Judaic prayers or even mikvah for the dead prior to Christ's death wouldn't have accomplished anything. That was my only point.

But clearly Robert is right that there was a Jewish tradition in at least the groups that believed in the persistence of the soul after death. (Not all Jewish groups did)

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 Salvation for the Dead 

 

According to 1 Peter 3: 18–20, those who died in the flood received special love and care from Jesus Christ: after His sacrificial death, He proclaimed the gospel to them in the realm of the dead. The fact that the dead need the proclamation of the gospel in order to “live in the spirit” is also stated in 1 Peter 4: 6: “For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”

Jesus Christ is Lord over the dead and the living. His gospel is equally valid for all. It is the desire of God that all men be saved (1 Timothy 2: 4–6; John 3: 16). This means that God’s will to save is given to all who believe. Salvation is offered through the proclamation of the word, the forgiveness of sins, and baptism and the Holy Ghost. All of these are likewise intended for the dead.

For them as for the living, belief in Jesus Christ is indispensable for attaining salvation. Redemption occurs solely through Jesus Christ.

Those holding the priesthood fulfill the commission of Jesus Christ by submitting the ordinances of salvation upon both the living and the dead. They act in Christ’s stead and in His name. Just as Jesus Christ brought His sacrifice on earth, salvation is also imparted through the Priesthood on earth.

The dispensation of Baptism with water and the Holy Ghost to the departed is effected when the visible act associated with each is performed upon a living person in the temple Here the salvific effect is not for the benefit of the living, but rather exclusively for the departed.

Departed souls now have experienced the rebirth of water and the Spirit are of equal standing with the dead in Christ (1 Thessalonians 4: 16).

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On 5/28/2019 at 7:04 PM, nuclearfuels said:


On 5/28/2019 at 7:04 PM, nuclearfuels said:
1 Corinthians 15: 29  Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

So Paul is writing to the saints in Corinth.

He's referencing a practice/ordinance they were at least aware of if not familiar with.

Who is Paul referencing? Which group of saints (probably more than one?)?

The above has been addressed by others, so I'll just pass it by.

On 5/28/2019 at 7:04 PM, nuclearfuels said:

Read somewhere that the font at Solomon's Temple wasn't used for baptisms for the dead (Levitical does not equal Melchezidek authority, for another thread, please.) 

First of all, the ordinance of baptism was not new with John the Baptist.  There was a long tradition of it.  To start with, conversion to Judaism required it, and it was a full body immersion, called tvilah.  Besides this, however, ritual purification was also done by immersion, and the font at Solomon's temple was intended for ablution of the priests who were to officiate in ordinances, and definitely not for baptisms for the dead.  

On 5/28/2019 at 7:04 PM, nuclearfuels said:

And Joseph Smith et al. didn't use a Temple for this ordinance at first, so a Temple wasn't required per se.

I believe this has also been addressed.  The Lord permitted baptisms for the dead when a temple was not available, just as He permitted endowments in the absence of a temple.

I'm not entirely sure whether your topic was intended to demand the doctrinal justification for baptism for the dead, or you were just asking for a discussion of the subject.  Sorry, but I'm not entirely familiar with your relationship to the LDS church.

One of the things that incline me to believe that baptism for the dead is absolutely necessary for the true Church of Jesus Christ is the following:

  • Jesus made it abundantly clear that being born of the water and the spirit was necessary to enter into the kingdom of God (see his conversation with Nicodemus). He did not offer any exceptions.
  • Jesus himself showed the way when he was baptized by John because to do so "fulfilled all righteousness" even though the Son of God had no sin and was himself the Savior -- technically, he was the only being who did not actually need baptism, but he submitted to it anyway.
  • After his death, and during the period between his death and resurrection Jesus had not yet ascended to the Father.  What was he doing during this time?  He was preaching to the dead (1 Peter 4:6)  Why would he do this?  Because they needed to hear the Gospel. And since they were under the same requirements of faith and repentance as the living, they likewise had to be born of water and the spirit in order to enter into the kingdom of God.  Otherwise, why would Christ bother to teach them, if there was no way they could enter into the kingdom of God, since it was too late for them to be baptized, being dead.

Because if billions of humans were born and died without ever hearing of Jesus Christ, what must happen to them in the end?  Is there any other way for them to enter the kingdom of God, except through coming through the same gate we the living must come thrugh, i.e. through the gate of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism and spirit birth?  Is there an exception provided with respect to baptism and spirit birth for the dead who never heard of Christ in life, and are no longer able to receive those two ordinances in their body?  The scriptures never mention it, if there is.  Therefore, those billions of children of God were doomed from the beginning, because God didn't provide a way.  This is unreasonable, if God is Love.  Baptism for the dead is the solution.  Were it not for this, then God would be a respecter of persons, who condemns capriciously, who sends his children into life with no possibility of redemption.  Who, when they ask for bread, sends them stones instead.

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