when we read at John 3:22 that “Jesus and his disciples went into Judean country, and there he spent some time with them and did baptizing,” we understand that the baptism performed had the same significance as did that performed by John.
However, if anyone was baptized with John’s baptism after Pentecost A.D. 33, it was improper. It would indicate that such a one did not appreciate the significance of that baptism. We read of such a case in Acts 19:3-5: “And he said: ‘In what, then, were you baptized?’ They said: ‘In John’s baptism.’ Paul said: ‘John baptized with the baptism of those repenting, telling the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.’ On hearing this, they got baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Inasmuch as this occurred when Paul was out on his third missionary tour, which began about A.D. 52, it is evident that these persons had been baptized after John’s baptism had ceased to have value in the eyes of Jehovah God. Properly, they were baptized again.
However, it is not necessary to be rebaptized every time another prophecy in God’s Word is fulfilled or some truth is more clearly understood. A baptized servant of God who has truly repented of his past course is going to follow Jehovah’s leading in these matters. Thus, when Christ was enthroned as King A.D. 1914 it was not necessary for all true Christians to be rebaptized in recognition of his ruling position. So too, when John the Baptist pointed out Christ as “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world,” it was not necessary for his disciples to get baptized all over again. Their acceptance of Jesus as the Christ was only consistent with the baptism to which they had already submitted. And just as their baptism continued valid at that time, so when Christ ascended to heaven and “God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name,” there was no need for his disciples to show their recognition of this by being baptized again.—Phil. 2:9.
However, a change in baptism was due to come when the Law covenant ceased to be valid. Therefore, not at the beginning of his ministry. but after his resurrection and before his ascension to heaven, Jesus said to his disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19, 20) He further told them: “Do not withdraw from Jerusalem, but keep waiting for what the Father has promised, about which you heard from me.” “You will receive power when the holy spirit arrives upon you, and you will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:4, 8) So from Pentecost on a different baptism was performed, not for repentance of sins against the Law covenant, but “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit,” symbolizing the believer’s dedication.
For the first time the easy-to-understand and beautifully illustrated book From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained will be distributed from house to house by Jehovah’s witnesses during May. The contribution for it will be 75c, and a free booklet will be given with it. Arrangements will be made to call back on those accepting the offer to start home Bible studies.
GET THE MOST FROM BIBLE READING
Has your reading of the Bible led you to conclude that God’s Word contains more than you are getting from it? You can find a wealth of pleasure and profit in its pages by considering its message along with the book From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained. The simple and direct language of this beautifully illustrated Bible aid will thrill you as you come to see the glorious future God has in store for those who love him. It is yours with a free booklet for only 75c if you send at once.
“WATCHTOWER” STUDIES FOR THE WEEKS
June 14: Break Free to Do the “Complete Will of God.” Page 261.
June 21: Attain Completeness in the New World Society. Page 268.