Posts Tagged ‘baptism’

Sabbath to Sunday shift on purpose by the Jewish community of the apostle James?

April 11, 2013

I had an interesting conversation with a rabbi who said “that Rabbi Jacob Emden proposed that the founders of Christianity deliberately adopted Sunday as a day of sabbath, to stress that they were not creating a conversion-based Torah religion. His proposal is that the founders of Christianity wanted to create a new religion for Gentiles to institutionalize observance of the seven Noahide laws (which don’t include the Sabbath) and instituted Sunday as a remembrance of the Sabbath.”


He furthermore said that Rabbi Jacob Emden had the opinion that baptism was the denominator to enter the new religion for the gentiles. Instead of circumcision which was meant for Jews.

This was quite new for me, and gave me a lot to think about. And indeed, it is in the letter of Rabbi Jacob Emden what is translated and published by Rabbi Harvey Falk. It is derived from the Hebrew book Seder Olam Rabbah Vezuta, 1757. His Hebrew name is: יעקב בן צבי (Yaacov ben Zvi, 1698-1767)

Rabbi Jacob Emden said:

But for the Gentiles he [Jesus] reserved the Seven Commandments which they have always been obligated to fulfill. It is for that reason that they were forbidden pollutions of idols, fornication, blood, and things strangled (Acts 15). They [the apostles] also forbade them circumcision and the Sabbath. … The Apostles of the Nazarene therefore chose for those Gentiles who do not enter the Jewish faith that instead of circumcision they should practice immersion (for truly immersion is also a condition of full conversion), and a commemoration of the Sabbath was made for them on Sunday.

In the New Testament we can find a difference between Jewish observance of the Torah and Gentile observance of the 7 Noachides. This is laid out in Acts.15. That means that if a new believer did not accept (the yoke of) the Torah, then he might enter the new Christian religion by baptism. In some sense you can call this new religion a part of Judaism, or something that fits into Judaism (7 Noachides), but it is not Judaism itself. That will teach us that there were two deliberate tracks for believers: The Jewish Torah observance and the Gentile 7-Noachides observance (without sabbath and circumcision).

If not the whole Jewish community of believers led by the apostle Jacob was scattered around since the destruction of the temple in 70, then, we probably would find the difference of Jewish and gentile believers also in the scriptures of our church fathers. Unfortunately the church went in its own and Judaism was not only singled out but also forbidden. And they deleted almost everything what remembers Judaism. E.g. highlighting (un-biblical) Christmas, change passover/easter date, etc.


John and Yeshua the baptists

January 19, 2010

Last weeks my attention was at the baptism issue several times. I realized more and more that there’s being a twofold dimension in baptism. In short, John and Yeshua are to be distinguished, I think. John was doing the baptism with water which was merely a sign, or manifestation of a decision of the inner heart. What John was doing was the human part. As he said himself: [I do it with water but] He shall baptize you with the holy Ghost and with fire. (Mat.3:11) That gives clearly a second baptism, those of Yeshua.

The first baptism was not something new in the second temple period. It was a common practice to baptize. But with the baptism of Yeshua we see something very special, something very new. A miracle happened. The son of G-d was baptized with the baptism of Righteousness. (Mat.3:15) He was coming to be the Servant of G-d who bears his people through the baptism of dead. (Col.2:10-11) The Righteous One enabled with the Holy Spirit to wash all the sins away from his people. Then, with the baptism of His Spirit a newborn one is there, under the new covenant, manifesting itself in the inner heart and coming out with a new will and good deeds etc. This certainly is not due to a personal act of baptism, but divine. It differs from the first, the personal baptism of John. However, I would not say that it is not related to each other.

I think they belong to each other; baptism has two parts in it. What we see and what we can’t see.

I would like to say something more on the covenantal view here.

The great emphasize on the covenant which is given by the Reformed tradition (following the Roman Catholics) diminished inevitably the personal character of baptism. And with the covenant a promise is introduced with respect to infant baptism. This covenant and promise theology inevitably resulted in a twofold dimension of the covenant: the outward in inward covenant (as is said) which correlates with the circumcision of the flesh and the heart.

Why does the Reformed tradition give such a great emphasize to the covenant issue with respect to baptism? I think the theology of Paul gives the building blocks for it. His bold statement in Col.2:10-13 (having been buried with him in baptism) put the whole issue of baptism into the Paschal redemption which is the covenant relationship.

It’s a difficult topic but interesting, because Yeshua said: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” (Mark16:16)

How do you practice baptism?

January 5, 2010

Recently I spoke to a good (messianic) friend of mine about water baptism. 
He said baptism was a common ritual to purify yourself to be able to be holy and e.g. to enter the holy temple at Pesach or other feasts. In its original Jewish meaning it is quite different as in the Christian tradition. I would like to write down some of my thoughts about baptism. 

First I will distinguish two parts of the view on baptism.

1. the personal repentance view
2. the covenant view

Most interesting for me is to find out what the original meaning of baptism is. It was not a covenant matter, although it was not wholly apart from it. The covenant sign was definitely the circumcision. Also a bar mitzvah and other things like that belonged to entering or a renewal of the covenant. But baptism is a personal expression of purifying the body and soul for G-d in a most honestly repentance before G-d’s face. Baptism in the Jewish way is a private act. Three witnesses are there to watch. John 1:35-36 shows two disciples, besides John the Baptist, which makes three. Such a personal act is hardly comparable with the common church tradition. John was applying the baptism of water for faithful people to let them do a personal repentance. Then they were able to enter the covenant and the Messianic age, what was expected.

But there was more to say about that. It was a sign of the great Baptizer who was to come and would baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire. (Mat.3:11) To enable his people to enter the renewed temple. So there is a twofold dimension in it. A personal repentance and baptism which is showed to the public, and a personal baptism of fire which is mysterious for the public. So we can take a personal baptism or mikveh everytime we want or we think we need it, but a baptism of fire from Yeshua is once and forever. And hence, I think, the covenantal aspect comes in picture.

Along with the church tradition of (infant) water baptism, the covenant view came more and more in picture. This was given so much emphasis that infants were being baptized and hence baptism was merely a covenant matter. Presbyterian and Reformed Christians developed the Covenant Theology to base their case for infant baptism. This has put the church in such a difficult position, that, I can tell you, even only in the Netherlands it resulted in tens of divisions from the 19e century until now. And the end isn’t yet there. A men made church would be left because of it. Because men will let the true church appear, rather than G-d will do that. It’s true, we couldn’t keep the covenant. Even as the old people of Israel couldn’t do that. We always will fail. How sad! It’s true, only grace, grace from the G-d of the covenant of Israel will renew the covenant, the faith and the true love. When He is going to establish, then a new thing will be created which will glorify HaSjem and his Messiah Yeshua. That was done by John the baptist and it will be done in our days. A new covenant will be made personal. But that’s another thing then water baptism. It’s difficult for me to connect the covenant to water baptism.

My own Reformed Christian heritage gives me along the personal also the covenant view. Without that it wouldn’t be so difficult. Maybe you would say just let your covenant view go, it’s just church tradition and never taught by Yeshua or the disciples. Yes, that could be true. But it isn’t as easy as it seems. Because the covenant view has biblical support as well. Baptism fits perfectly in the model of Pesach. I showed that in my other post: we are baptized into Christ’s dead. In the New Testament however, there is no mention about the covenant but related to eucharist or the festival of commemorating Pesach. There Yeshua said “This is my blood of the New Testament (new covenant) which I shed for many”. So the connection of Pesach with Baptism will make the covenant view. But to say that every newborn child is automatically into the covenant, isn’t that too much said?

In the Reformed churches often is spoken of an inward part of the covenant and an outward part. The outward part means that you are baptized but not reborn. When an inward covenant belongs to you, you are saved. That distinction is seen both in baptism and eucharism.