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At our Bible Study at work, someone asked a question to the group "How did John the Baptist come up with the idea of baptism?" Nobody could really immediately come up with an answer. Later that day, someone found the article The Jewish Background of Christian Baptism which gave the answer.

It was a Jewish tradition to be ceremonially immersed in water (mikveh) for several things, including:
- Before the high Priest conducted the service on the Day of Atonement
- Before the regular priests participated in the Temple service
- Before each person entered the Temple complex
- Before a scribe wrote the name of God
- A Gentile converting to Judaism

Some interesting notes about Jewish immersion:

- The individual would stand in the water and immerse himself by squatting. The officiator would never touch the individual. So he would then go straight down and up. And it would seem plausible that Jesus was baptized in the same way.
Matt 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water:

- Jewish law required at least three qualified leaders to be witnesses for certain immersions.
Matt 28:19 Go ye therefore,and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost

Posted: 2003-11-21 08:35:30


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