Did Those Persons Who Were Baptized Under John's Baptism Prior To The Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 Have To Be Rebaptized?
There are several reasons from the Scriptures as to why we can know that those persons who were baptized under the baptism of John prior to the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 did not need to be rebaptized:
1. Mark 1:4,5 states: "John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins." This gives us the purpose of John's baptism. John was sent to the Jews to help prepare them for the Messiah, but also to facilitate for them to be in a restored relationship with God (Malachi 4:5,6; Luke 1:67-79).
Notice through Zechariah's prophecy from the Holy Spirit that he states in Luke 1:76-79: "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." The reason that sinners would be able to receive the remission of sins through John's baptism of water was because of another revelatory point was as Paul put it in Acts 19:4: "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." When Jesus died on the cross and His blood was shed for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28), the efficacious power of the blood of Christ was able to retrospectively reach back to those dead who had offered in faith and obedience the animal sacrifices [which could never take away sins - Hebrews 10:1-4; animal sacrifices did, however, point to the ultimate sin sacrifice - the sacrifice of Jesus - that could take away sins (Hebrews 10:5-10)]. This enable the faithful dead under the Old Testament system to have their sins forgiven under the first covenant (Hebrews 9:14,15) as well as those who received the baptism of John prior to the Day of Pentecost since a person was to continue to believe on Jesus that was to come. Therefore the baptism of John was no longer in effect since Jesus had come already (Acts 19:1-7).
2. John 1:35-42 states: "Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!' The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, ‘What do you seek?' They said to Him, ‘Rabbi (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), where are You staying?" He said to them, ‘Come and see.' They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour). One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah' (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, ‘You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas' (which is translated, A Stone)."
A disciple is a student who follows his teacher. If a student wants to be a good student he must obey what the teacher says. It is logical that Andrew, who was a disciple of John the Immerser, underwent the baptism of John. Therefore, if Andrew repented (Matthew 3:8; Mark 1:4), was baptized (Mark 1:4,5), and continued to believe on the Messiah (Acts 19:4), then he would receive the remission of sins (Mark 1:4). We see it is the case that Andrew switches teachers and starts to follow and become a disciple of Jesus. Later on during the last supper, Jesus says to His twelve disciples in John 15:1-4: "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me." In John 17:11,12, Jesus states in His prayer to the Father: "Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled." Jesus' disciples were in a saved condition, except for Judas Iscariot. Why? Because they had obeyed the baptism of John and continued to believe on Jesus' word that continued to cleanse them.
3. John 4:1,2 states: "Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria."
In the early part of Jesus' ministry, it is seen that Jesus and John were proclaiming the same message of the preparatory phase of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 3:1,2; 4:17) through the Messiah breaking into creation. That is why we see both John and Jesus (via His disciples) baptizing Jews for the remission of sins. It would seem odd if Jesus' own disciples had not underwent the baptism of John since they were baptizing people who had come to show fruits worthy of repentance. In fact, in Luke 7:29,30, the record states: "And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him." If you did not undergo the baptism of John, then you were rejecting the will of God. Certainly, Jesus would have rebuked His disciples if they had not been baptized by John.
4. Jesus stated in the early part of His ministry in John 3:3-5 to Nicodemus, a Pharisee: "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."
Jesus, in this historical context, was certainly not wanting Nicodemus to wait two and a half more years for the Day of Pentecost in order to undergo the commandment of water baptism mentioned in Acts 2:38. Jesus was referring to the baptism of John because he mentions "water", which John was immersing with and "spirit", which shows that a person must have a heart of contrition that bears fruits worthy of repentance in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. This is what it will take in order to undergo the new birth. A person could no longer hold on to the physical lineage of Abraham, but must spiritually undergo a change of the heart in order to enter into a new life and fellowship with God. At that time between Jesus' personal ministry and the Day of Pentecost, people who obeyed God could enter into the preparatory phase of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 11:12). That is why we find in Acts 2:41 that the about three thousand who obeyed the gospel on the Day of Pentecost were added. To whom were they added? Could it be possible that they were added to the faithful number of followers who had undergone the baptism of John (such as the apostles) and others who automatically came into the established phase of the kingdom of the Messiah?
A present-day application can still be held to John 3:1-12 to show that we must undergo the water baptism that is found in Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15,16.
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