In Exodus 29:4, the Bible said, “And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water.” Washing with water was an important biblical sign from the Old Testament. Godly men were washed and cleansed before taking part in sacrifices for God. John the Baptist introduces washing (baptism) to Christians who would not have the privilege under the Jews to participate in the sacrifices and worship that often conducted in the Tabernacles (see Exodus 29-30).
The Bible records said “When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offerings made by fire unto the LORD. So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute forever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations (Ex 30:19-21).” Throughout the Bible, the seeds of these godly men practice the statue or decree of washing. In 2 Kings 5:9-10, the Bible said “So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, ‘Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.'” The Psalmist, King David said, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow (Ps 51:7).” King Solomon also knew the importance of the statute of washing; he recorded these words in Proverbs 30:12 “There is a generation that is pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.” Jesus again did the same to the blind man, he said ” Go, wash in the pool of Siloam. He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing (Jn 9:7).”
If the act of washing or baptism or cleansing the body from the sinful nature is not done, then the statute spoken of by God in Exodus is not adhered to. Again the prophet Jeremiah declares the benefit of washing; In Jer 4:14, he said “O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?” Even the Gentiles in the days of Jesus understood the decree of washing. Pilate saw that he could not prevail, took water, and washed his hands before the multitude and said “…I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it (Mt 27:24).” Washing makes him innocent? Where did he get this idea? Surely from the decree of washing. Just before Jesus leaves his disciples, he began to exercise the decree of washing. He turned to Peter to wash him and Peter said, “…Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all (Jn 13:8-10).”
So John the Baptist continued the decree of washing. He was preparing the way for the final wash that Jesus will do to all nations (on the day of judgment). He said “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. (Mt 3:11).” This fire consumes sin to death and the Holy Ghost gives life. Again, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ rightly fulfill the decree; the Bible said “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Mt 3:13-17).” Our father is well please with Jesus. He fulfilled the statute of washing before has begun his Father’s ministry. The very same practice he instructed Aaron to do in Exodus 29. This was new to the Jews, that all men can participate in washing. They thought that only the privileged one who enters into the inner chamber of the Tabernacle should wash. But here John is washing anyone who believes in Jesus. The chief priest and the elders of the people came to Jesus as he was teaching, and said “By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? (Mt 21:24-25).” Even though the priests did not answer Jesus, we know from Exodus 29 that it is from God.
Jesus commanded us saying “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Mt 28:18-20).” The power of Satan has tarnished God’s people beyond recognition, for this reasons Jesus needs more people to preach the words of God to all nations. He said go baptizing them in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and the God the Holy Ghost. It is on their behalf the sacred washing before starting the work of the ministry must be done. Mark the disciple recorded the events of this mandate. He said “And there went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. (Mk 1:5).”
Today, many churches and denominations saw the meaning and importance in the baptismal decree; they have used it as leverage in accumulating membership to themselves, not necessarily to God. Why? If you who believe in God and Jesus Christ as your Savior, and wishes to be baptized in his name, but not to be partakers in the doctrine of that denominations, they will not baptize you. Where has Jesus teaches us to refused baptism to a believer? Or where have the disciples or Jesus teaches us to delay baptism on a believer? Even Simon, who used sorcery and bewitched the people of Samaria believed in Jesus and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip. Also the Eunuch, after hearing Philip preached to him about Jesus; and when they came to a certain water, the Eunuch said ” See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” What did Philip say? “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.” And the Eunuch answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Philip stopped the chariot and they went down both into the water and he baptized him. What then should hinder me to be baptized if I say I believe?
Baptism is also a “type” of the Day of Judgment when the Saints pass from death to life. We must continue to exercise this practice until that day comes. Repentant sinners can experience the death to sin and the resurrection to life at the time of water baptism. The baptism by the Holy Ghost is a gift that follows after the baptism by water. This gift certifies your faith in Christ.
After baptism, we will still be subjected to the temptations from the great deceiver, thus the ordinance of foot washing was given to believers to maintain and keep them in the faith. Thus, if a believer sin, he/she must confess and ask for forgiveness, then the believer must exercise the ordinance of foot washing followed by the ordinance to remember Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins. This is the ordinance of Communion. With these ordinances, a believer is maintained in the body of Christ while we are here on earth, waiting for his return. This wonderful gift given to us by Jesus Christ is what will keep animosity in the church at a low level. Believers will look into themselves at the time of exercising the ordinance. They will make straight their thoughts and conducts before part taking; and in so doing will be guided back on that narrow and straight path to our redeemer.
So, baptism or washing with water was an important biblical sign from the Old Testament (Exodus 29:4). Godly men were washed and are cleansed before taking part in sacrifices for God. John the Baptist reintroduces washing (or baptism) to Christians to those who are now believers and will proclaim (their service for God) the good news about Jesus. So baptism is an initiation into the service of the Gospel.