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John The Baptist


inquiringmind

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Yes. During the restoration. He was the one who baptized Joseph and Oliver during the restoration. As for afterwards of baptizing Christ, I know not, someone else might know better. =)

Best Wishes,

TAO

Ooops, TAO. BZZZZZZZT.

He ordained Joseph and Oliver to the Aaronic Priesthood and instructed them to baptize each other.

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I know he was prepairing the way for Christ's first coming, but was John the Baptist baptizing people into the Church?

Since the church didn't exist, the answer is easy: No.

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There's a fantastic and highly detailed analysis and discussion of John the Baptist in the first few chapters of Meier''s A Marginal Jew, Volume II. It appears he was baptizing individuals as a sign or seal of their preparation to survive the fire of the eschaton/Last Day. While John did have disciples who congregated around him, his baptism was mainly one that many received, but then went back into their own societies.

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There's a fantastic and highly detailed analysis and discussion of John the Baptist in the first few chapters of Meier''s A Marginal Jew, Volume II. It appears he was baptizing individuals as a sign or seal of their preparation to survive the fire of the eschaton/Last Day. While John did have disciples who congregated around him, his baptism was mainly one that many received, but then went back into their own societies.

So stargazer was right?

The Church didn't exist?

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So stargazer was right?

The Church didn't exist?

Not as a formal organization. John was baptizing for the remission of sins, not for membership in the church. Those whom he baptized were convenant people, already in the "church", so to speak, and the rite was intended to symbolize, for them, a re-purification. John didn't invent baptism, the rite already existed as part of the Mikveh. The covenant people who came to receive his baptism were looking towards it as a way to re-emphasize their commitment to their Mosaic heritage. But that wasn't all that John was doing.

John had been given instruction from God to do what he was doing, and was expecting the Messiah at some point to show up for baptism. The baptism of the Messiah, in effect, was the opening of the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ. From this point forward you could say that baptism was the entry point into the church. But not before.

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John didn't invent baptism, the rite already existed as part of the Mikveh.

Actually, from what I understand, there isn't much evidence that the Mikveh as Convert/One-Time Immersion was going on at this period. The many regularly repeated washings are significantly different than John's one-time performance. Meier's book explores in detail the many different forms of ritual lustration going on at this period in this geography, and John's appears to be very distinct in purpose from all of them. From Qumran lustrations, to Pharisaic purity washings, etc. John's was indeed something unique - which is why he was distinguished by the new practice, and why he could be called John the Immerser/Dunker/Baptizer, and that would mean something.

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The Mikveh was for gentile converts, and Jews who became temporarily unclean (as women did every month, and men did when they had a discharge in their sleep, or got too close to a woman at certain times of the month.)

That doesn't seem quite the same thing as Christian baptism.

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The Mikveh was for gentile converts, and Jews who became temporarily unclean (as women did every month, and men did when they had a discharge in their sleep, or got too close to a woman at certain times of the month.)

That doesn't seem quite the same thing as Christian baptism.

Of course it wasn't quite the same. The ordinance was repurposed.

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Actually, from what I understand, there isn't much evidence that the Mikveh as Convert/One-Time Immersion was going on at this period. The many regularly repeated washings are significantly different than John's one-time performance. Meier's book explores in detail the many different forms of ritual lustration going on at this period in this geography, and John's appears to be very distinct in purpose from all of them. From Qumran lustrations, to Pharisaic purity washings, etc. John's was indeed something unique - which is why he was distinguished by the new practice, and why he could be called John the Immerser/Dunker/Baptizer, and that would mean something.

Gentile converts were required to participate in the Mikveh as part of their conversion. Afterwards, it was a multiple-use ordinance, at need.

As I said, the ordinance was repurposed for Christians. The entry-ordinance part was retained, but the other was not. I would submit that it was not retained as a purification rite because Christ's sacrifice purifies once and for all.

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There was no ekkelssia ("assembly", "gathering", "congregation" "Church") of Christians yet. So, no.

Hey Nack,

Just wondering however, wouldn't John's baptizm have been considered an entry to "the congregation" or "assembly" of true Israel (don't know how else to term it) in the sense that Paul when quoting Psalms 22:22 used the word "church" rather than "assembly"? Or Acts 7:38....?

38This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively aoracles to give unto us:

Didn't "the Church" exist as an entity in the congregation of Israel itself and (as in every church or organization) there were some who were righteous and some who weren't?

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Hey Nack,

Just wondering however, wouldn't John's baptizm have been considered an entry to "the congregation" or "assembly" of true Israel (don't know how else to term it) in the sense that Paul when quoting Psalms 22:22 used the word "church" rather than "assembly"? Or Acts 7:38....?

38This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively aoracles to give unto us:

Didn't "the Church" exist as an entity in the congregation of Israel itself and (as in every church or organization) there were some who were righteous and some who weren't?

That's kind of what I was saying.

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That's kind of what I was saying.

It just sounded initially, because of your "the church didn't exist" statement in your first post, that maybe on deeper or second thought you changed direction there. Probably Inquiringmind was thinking in stricter terms of the "Christian" church whereas I have a tendency to see the "church" as a continuum from Adam to the present time.

I think if one had asked the Priests and Levites if they existed as a "formal organization" they would have given you a resounding "yes"

I assume you agree?

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Gentile converts were required to participate in the Mikveh as part of their conversion. Afterwards, it was a multiple-use ordinance, at need.

Do you have a reference for this immersion-for-conversion was something that was regularly done in the time of John the Baptist? My understanding was this the evidence shows this was a later tradition and development, and that all contemporary gentile conversion narratives refer to circumcision, but never refer to a ritual initiation washing.

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Hey Nack,

Just wondering however, wouldn't John's baptizm have been considered an entry to "the congregation" or "assembly" of true Israel (don't know how else to term it)

There's nothing in any of the John the Baptist narratives I'm aware of that would lead one to think this was historically the case.

in the sense that Paul when quoting Psalms 22:22 used the word "church" rather than "assembly"? Or Acts 7:38....?

Paul didn't choose the word 'Church' over 'Assembly'. The KJV translators did. Luke uses the word ekklesia, quoting the septuagint, which the KJV translated as 'Church', rather than Assembly or Congregation.

But that doesn't effect the point. John's baptism doesn't appear to have any reference to any sort of initiation, and there is no talk of 'true' or 'spiritual' Israel. It would be complete speculation to say otherwise.

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It just sounded initially, because of your "the church didn't exist" statement in your first post, that maybe on deeper or second thought you changed direction there. Probably Inquiringmind was thinking in stricter terms of the "Christian" church whereas I have a tendency to see the "church" as a continuum from Adam to the present time.

I think if one had asked the Priests and Levites if they existed as a "formal organization" they would have given you a resounding "yes"

I assume you agree?

Yup.

Although I would contend that Christ took the whole concept into a new direction.

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Do you have a reference for this immersion-for-conversion was something that was regularly done in the time of John the Baptist? My understanding was this the evidence shows this was a later tradition and development, and that all contemporary gentile conversion narratives refer to circumcision, but never refer to a ritual initiation washing.

No, I don't, but everything I've read that doesn't speak of it particularly seems to reinforce it. Certain elements of logic militates in its favor, as well. Consider that, if it weren't already being done for gentile converts at the time of Jesus, how likely would it have been for the Jews to adopt a strictly Christian practice, such as immersion of a convert? Given the preference for tradition, I would say that this would be unlikely. They would be more likely to discontinue a practice that was seen as Christian rather than adopt such a one. This alone is strong evidence for an ancient pre-Christian requirement for immersion of converts.

Volgadon can probably comment with more authority, and he may have some good references.

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Do you have a reference for this immersion-for-conversion was something that was regularly done in the time of John the Baptist? My understanding was this the evidence shows this was a later tradition and development, and that all contemporary gentile conversion narratives refer to circumcision, but never refer to a ritual initiation washing.

I believe you're right, Nack. From what I remember, most of the evidence dates to the end of the first century CE. You have a reference in the Mishnah to a debate about if either 'the bath' or circumcision alone is valid for removing impurity from a gentile. That dates to around 90 CE. And you have something from Epictitus around the same time. Most scholars think that there was some kind of Jewish proselyte baptism going on at the time of John, but the evidence isn't really there until the end of the century. There is some debate about passages in earlier second temple texts that aren't very clear, but I think most people view John as adapting something.

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No, I don't, but everything I've read that doesn't speak of it particularly seems to reinforce it. Certain elements of logic militates in its favor, as well. Consider that, if it weren't already being done for gentile converts at the time of Jesus, how likely would it have been for the Jews to adopt a strictly Christian practice, such as immersion of a convert? Given the preference for tradition, I would say that this would be unlikely. They would be more likely to discontinue a practice that was seen as Christian rather than adopt such a one. This alone is strong evidence for an ancient pre-Christian requirement for immersion of converts.

Volgadon can probably comment with more authority, and he may have some good references.

From what I've read, it is fairly common for scholars to view the Christian baptism in general as related to Jewish proselyte baptism in some form or another. But most of them don't know exactly what to do specifically with John's baptism. Qumran, Josephus' Bannus, Philo's Theraputae, proselytes, etc. A lot of examples are considered, but nothing seems to fit the bill exactly. It's an intriguing question.

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