FYI: The synonyms for being holy, cleansing, washing, etc., are all used ceremonially and morally as well as literally. So, pay close attention to the context.
The first step for anyone or thing to become part of the congregation of the people of God was to be ceremonially clean. The fountain of cleansing reminds us of all the washing that is prescribed by the Law in order to make one ceremonially clean. A person had to wash their body and put on clean clothes to be considered clean. All other things had to be washed, both the common and the sacred, depending on what or who it was and/or the circumstances of what or who they were. All things were to be cleansed, either by water, or blood, or fire. Certain items or persons might also have to be quarantined. But everything had to be made clean.
You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean; Lev. 10:10
- Food [Lev 11:34]
- Touching the dead [Lev 11:39 & Num 19:11-22]
- Women after menstruation and birth [Lev 12 & Lev 15;19-24].
- Lepers and other maladies [Lev 13-15].
- Anointing of Priests [Lev 14].
- Men having running issue [Lev 15:1-16].
- All kinds of defilement [Lev 15:16].
- Carrying out the ashes of the Red Heifer [Num 19:9].
- War booty and warriors [Num. 31: 21-24].
Our present modes of Baptism do not come from Jewish or Old Testament tradition but, rather from the traditions that were in times past, part of the mystery religions. One of the things we know about the mystery religions is that in all of them the initiates had to go through an ordeal of baptism before entering into the mystery. Here is just one example of this baptism, it was impossible to enter the Elysian Fields (the pagans idea of paradise or heaven). Babies were and are often baptized at birth to insure that should they die they will not end up in torment.
Before the gates the cries of babes new-born,
Whom fate had from their tender mothers torn,
Assault his ears. . . .
The next in place and punishment are they
Who prodigally threw their souls away,
Fools, who, repining at their wretched state,
And loathing anxious life, suborned their fate.
But no such fear or teaching in God’s word
… but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 19:14
For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is they are holy. 1Cor. 7:14
Washing is not and never was intended to be a one time event. Every time there was a holy day of a major change in ones life, the people went to the mikvah. Being born, going to school, changing schools, getting married, etc. Most of the washing proscribed in the Law is just everyday cleaning of people and things. The same words are used whether one was washing the dishes, the baby, or prepare to go to the tabernacle for a high holy day. And from the early church we know that they did not consider it a one time event either. They all baptized every year at Pentecost/ Shavuot, it became know as White Sunday or Whitsunday, because they all went down to local rivers in white and baptized. Anytime one feels that their relationship with God or men has occurred, one should go into the waters again.
FYI: The early church believed with the Sadducees that First Fruits was always on the first day of the week in the Passover week, therefore Pentecost/Shavuot would always be on the first day of the week [Lev. 23:10-14].
Baptism is preeminently symbolic of cleansing by the blood of Christ and so the ceremonial act is regarded by Peter as not analogous with “a removal of dirt from the body” but rather that of a “clear conscience”.
Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. 3:21
We are to be holy as God is holy [Lev. 11:44; 1 Pet. 1:16]. Our conscience is to be clean. We tend to think that “clean” is good and “unclean” is bad, but the point of the Law it that “clean” is sacred and “unclean” is profane.
All the laws of cleansing are there to show us over and over that the normal state of things is to be “unclean”, and to be “clean”, is abnormal. We are not naturally kadosh, holy, or set apart, and the only why to the presence of God is to be kadosh, holy, or set apart. A tall order for creatures with such polluted hearts, thoughts, and deeds. Our defilement is to a greater or lesser degree, the sad state of the inheritance of every child of Adam. Since our expulsion from the garden, being in the presence of God is abnormal. For He is kadosh, holy, set apart, and we are anything but kadosh, holy, or set apart. To get back to the garden, and therefore back to being in the presence of God, we must become as abnormal and clean as God. We must wash in the fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.
We as believers have passed through the water, and we have passed through the blood, all that is left is to pass through the fire.
And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having in his hand a burning coal which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin forgiven.” Is. 6:5-7
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw — each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. 1Cor. 3:10 -15
We can wash all we want. There is no way back to the Garden and that personal time with our Creator then to be truly clean.
Though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me, says the Lord GOD. Jer. 2:22
No amount of physical washing could ever make one truly clean. The only way back to the garden, back to a right standing before our Creator is through the cleansing blood. There is no way that mere water or the blood of animals ever truly made one clean. Cleansing come from Messiah, and His sacrifice.
On the Passover, the night when our Lord was betrayed, they would all have gone to the mikvah and become ceremonially clean. But is it made clear that Judas was not clean, and no amount of water could make him so.
Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over; and you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “You are not all clean.” John 13:10 -11
The only way given to be truly clean is the blood of Messiah.
Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. Rom. 5:9
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom. 8:1
… let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Heb. 10:22