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Parallels in scripture
MosesWhen Moses brought Israel out of Egypt and took them through the Red Sea, the water split and they walked through the water. This is a clear parallel to the baptism and gives us a good understanding of salvation (1 Corinthians 10:1-2), so we should have a closer look.
The backgroundThe Israelites were slaves in Egypt and could not get out. No matter how hard they worked, Pharaoh just kept adding more and more labor to them. Their work never finished, and their situation was hopeless. There was no freedom in sight.
This is like the situation of every person on earth. Egypt and Pharaoh represent sin, bondage and a life of slavery under Satan. No matter how hard we try, we will never get out of their grip. All of our efforts are useless in trying to overcome sin and death. No matter how many good deeds we do, our bad deeds will drag us down in judgment and darkness (Ephesians 2:1-5).
The SalvationFinally, God intervenes and begins breaking the power of Pharaoh by performing miracles and judgments. Although these were powerful miracles, it was only after the tenth and last judgment that Pharaoh released the Israelites. To survive this judgment, they had to sacrifice a lamb.
In the same way, it is only God who can save mankind by His power, we are of no help (Ephesians 2:8-10). The final step in His salvation is the sacrifice of a lamb, this is Yeshua the Messiah who died for our sins (John 1:29).
The BaptismSoon after leaving Egypt, Israel arrives at the Red Sea and they come to a stop. Pharaoh sees the opportunity, gathers his army and sets out to kill them all. Now, God splits the sea, Israel passes through and arrive in safety on the other side. When Pharaoh tries to follow, the sea closes and destroys his army; and the whole world watched (Joshua 2:10-11).
Soon after coming to faith in the Messiah, you should also baptize yourself. It will be a definite step that seals your new faith and keeps you on a safe distance from your old life. Let it be a sign of God's victory and redemption for all to see (Matthew 5:14-16).
John the BaptistYeshua was born almost at the same time as John the Baptist. The difference was just a few months between them. They both started to preach their message to Israel at about the same time too, only John started a little earlier.
It says that John the Baptist had the spirit of Elijah (Matthew 11:14), what does that mean? It means that he had a strong message of repentance that affected the whole nation, and just like Elijah, he began turning the nation back to God (Matthew 3:1-3).
When the Israelites came to listen to John and repented, they got baptized as a sign of their repentance, and the geographical location that John chose for his preaching and baptism was no coincidence. He chose the place where Moses had his long speech in Deuteronomy, on the other side of the river Jordan, across Jericho (John 1:28). Let us have a closer look at this location.
The PromiseMoses' speech in Deuteronomy was all about preparing Israel to enter the land, according to the promise God had given to Abraham. It was time to begin entering the land of Canaan.
John’s message was all about preparing Israel to receive the Messiah, according to the promise God had given to mankind since the Garden of Eden (John 1:30-34). It was time to begin entering the Kingdom of God (Luke 16:16).
Raising the standardsMoses repeated much of God’s law and emphasized how important it is to keep it, teach it and fulfill it in a spirit of love and mercy (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Otherwise they would not remain long in the land.
Both John and Yeshua pointed out the importance of fulfilling the true nature of God’s law, to keep it while showing God’s love and mercy (Matthew 9:13, John 14:15). If the generation would not repent, they would not enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 4:17, Luke 3:7-17).
The water splits againAfter Moses had finished his speech he died, and the leadership was given to his disciple Joshua. Then, when it is time for Israel to cross the river Jordan, God split the river like He split the Red Sea, and Israel passed through (Joshua 3:14-17).
Yeshua is the same name as Joshua in Hebrew. When Yeshua is baptized in the river Jordan, God splits the heavens and the Holy Spirit descends upon Yeshua (Luke 3:21-22). Since that day the Kingdom of God began manifesting and people started to enter it.
Aren't these parallels quite amazing!? God has really prepared the way for us and let us understand the importance of baptism. Now, let's make a quick review before we move on to the last lesson.