Happy Heralds, Inc


by Dr. Fred Wittman


Mt. 3:13-16; Mk. 1:9-11; Lk. 3:21-23


“At that time /Jesus emerged alongside from /Galilee upon /Jordan to[the face of] /John, in order to be baptized by him. But /John tried to prevent Him, saying, I myself have need to be baptized by You$ and are You$ Yourself coming to[the face of] me? Then /Jesus answered and said to[the face of] him, Permit |it| this present time! For in this way it is proper to us to fully fulfill all righteousness. At that time he permitted Him. And after /Jesus was baptized, directly He ascended away from |the edge of| the water. And lo! The Heavens were opened to Him and he beheld The Spirit of The God descending as if a dove and coming upon Him. And lo! A call out of the& Heavens saying, This+ One is My /Beloved /Son in Whom I am [constative aorist 2]delighted” (Mt. 3:13-17 APT).

“And it came to pass in those /days that Jesus came from Nahzahréth of /Galilee. And He was baptized by John into the Jordan. And immediately while ascending from the water, he beheld the Heavens split[cause a schism] and The Spirit as if a dove descending upon Him and a call from the Heavens occurred, You$ are continuously My /Beloved /Son in Whom I am constantly [constative aorist 2]delighted” (Mk. 1:9-11 APT).

“And it came to pass in the act of all the people being baptized, in fact Jesus also was being baptized. And while praying, the Heaven was opened. And The Holy /Spirit descended upon Him in a bodily semblance[what is beheld, the sight] as if a dove. And a call emerged out of 0Heaven saying, You$ Yourself are continuously My /Beloved /Son. I am constantly delighted in You$. Now /Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age while beginning[His ministry], being (as was customarily supposed) 0son of Joseph, [who was son]of /Haylée” (Lk. 3:21-23 APT).


What does baptism mean to you? How does your meaning compare with The God’s meaning as described and used in Scripture? It was noted in the Introduction to this series:

The word “baptism” is the translation of the Greek noun βάπτισμα (Báhp-teesmah). It comes from the verb βαπτίζω (bahptéez0) translated ‘baptize’ and means “to make whelmed, (i.e. to fully wet).” βαπτίζω comes from the root word βάπτω (báhpt0) which means “to whelm, i.e. to cover wholly with a fluid.” It is translated “to dip.” βάπτω is also used to indicate the act of dying, ‘to dye,’ that is to dip a cloth or material into a vat of liquid to change its color. The cloth is not changed, only the appearance and color is changed. However, baptism calls for an inner change producing action whereby there are seven factors in connection with each of the seven baptisms.

The third baptism mentioned in The New Testament from an historical stand point is the baptism of The Lord Jesus Christ by John the Baptizer. As seen in the previous study of The Baptism by John, John was born in the month of Tammuz (June-July) 5 B.C. John began his ministry, as forerunner of The Christ (Messiah) and herald of the Kingdom, in the Judean desert in the spring of A.D. 29. It was the fifteenth year of Kaísahr Teebéhree-ohs, who began his governing of Rome in A.D. 14. Arhkh-éhlah-ohs was reigning as Ethnarch of Judea, Idumea (Eedou-maíah), and Samaria in the stead of King Herod, the Great. In order for The Christ to set up His Kingdom, all Israel must repent of their sins and commit trust to The Messiah whose coming was imminent in order to be forgiven of their sins and usher in the Kingdom. The religious leaders of the Jews, the scribes and Pharisees (hypocrites) and Sadducees (including the priests), had misled the people and in The God’s eyes were vipers (Mt. 3:7; 12:34; 23:33). Sin had been running wild and had reached its climax. Israel must needs repent and bring forth fruits or deeds worthy of repentance because the anger of The Lord is imminent (Mt. 3:7,10). According to historical records in relation to coordination of seven prominent persons noted by Luke (Lk. 3:1,20) in five political governings of people in Rome, Judea, and four provinces north of Judea, and during the ministry of two chief priests in Jerusalem (Áhnnahs and Kai-áhfahs), it is deduced that the time when John began his ministry was early-to-mid A.D. 29. He baptized those who had repented and demonstrated their seriousness about repentance by demonstrating deeds of repentance. People came to him in the desert of Judea at Baythahbahráh (Jn. 1:28) and later at Ainōn near Sahleh-eém. (Jn. 3:23).

We noted that the earliest baptism mentioned in The New Testament was the Baptism of Moses. That was a baptism of redemption. The whole congregation was involved. The second baptism we studied was the Baptism by John. This was a baptism of repentance. Only those adults of the congregation of Israel that repented of their sins and demonstrated that they had repented by showing the fruits of repentance in their lives were baptized. John refused to baptize those who had not repented or could not give evidence of repentance (Mt. 3:7-9). There is no indication that babies and children were being baptized in the baptism by John. The candidates had to be adults who had gone the way of the adults in their culture, that is the way of the self life, the way of the flesh, the way of the world (heathen) and then repented of the lifestyle of sin. Children were not considered members of the congregation and could not join the synagogue until they passed the age of puberty and were recognized as adults by the celebration of that fact in the bar mitzvah for boys and the bas mitzvah for girls. A congregation can organize a synagogue if there are ten male adults including teenagers who have passed the rite of bar mitzvah. Should the Church of The Lord Jesus Christ that began with regenerated and baptized Jewish adults do any less?

When Jesus came to John the baptizer, He indicated to him that His baptism was a baptism of righteousness. However, John recognized the character of the One Who requested baptism and voiced his objection. Matthew recorded, “John tried to prevent Him, saying, I myself have need to be baptized by You$ and are You$ Yourself coming to[the face of] me? (Mt. 3:14 APT). The Lord Jesus Christ had to instruct him. There was need for a particular message to be proclaimed, but this particular message must come from The Lord Jesus Christ Himself. All seven factors in connection with the previous baptisms are active and noted here in the Baptism of The Christ, as in the remaining baptisms to be studied.


John realized Who Jesus was. John, the Baptizer’s message called for repentance. He baptized Israelites based upon forgiveness of sins because of repentance. John’s ministry pertained to the forgiveness of sins. The One before Him, Jesus The Christ of The Living God was sinless (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 7:26). John realized that he himself was not sinless, therefore he objected to baptizing The Lord Jesus because he knew that he needed to be baptized by Jesus and was not worthy to baptize Him. In response Jesus told him, “Permit |it| this present time! For in this way it is proper to us to fully fulfill all righteousness” (Mt. 3:15 APT).

Why should The Son of The God need to be baptized? He had not sinned! In the life of The Lord Jesus Christ there was absolutely no sin. He was The Sinless and Spotless Son of The God (1 Pet. 1:19). But there would be one sin if in fact Jesus went any further and entered into His ministry without being baptized. Baptism is a requirement for all who are to have any part in the Kingdom of The God. And that goes for The King Himself! Baptism was a requirement for Israel in the sea (cf. Chapter 1: The Baptism unto Moses) before being freed from the bondage of Egypt and Sin and before they could become the people of God. Baptism was the requirement proclaimed by John the Baptizer for the Israelites of his day to prepare for the coming Kingdom of God and of Righteousness upon Earth. Since baptism is the requirement for all, He, Jesus Himself must also be baptized to fulfill all righteousness. You see, although Jesus had never committed one sin in His perfect life, He would be guilty of one sin that would forbid Him to enter the Kingdom. What sin would that be? It would not be a sin of commission (something He did wrong), but rather a sin of omission (something that should be done, but left undone). At that point of time when Jesus came to John there was not yet a fulfillment of all righteousness, the act of being baptized. He must be baptized. There could be no example to us of our necessity to be baptized if The Lord Jesus Christ Himself was not baptized. He must indeed be obedient in all points. Now baptism for disciples (not merely believers) indeed is a baptism of obedience and the fulfillment of righteousness that takes place in one’s adult life after the body grows to the time of ability to be an agent to reproduce life. Remember that The Lord Jesus Himself was not baptized until he was past thirty years of age.

Baptism does not wash away sins (1 Pet. 3:21). Baptism gives evidence that sins are washed away, but it does not do the washing away of sins. Peter stated after noting that, by means of the ark in the flood, eight souls were brought safely through water, “as a figure[antitype] baptism also now saves us, not the laying down away of 0filth of 0flesh, but on the contrary, a question of a beneficially good conscience in regard to God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 3:21 APT). Baptism has nothing to do with ridding the flesh from sins referred to by many as a washing away of the filth of the flesh. But rather baptism is the answer to the question of a beneficially good conscience toward The God. If we have an answer to the question of a beneficially good conscience toward The God, the reason we do is because we are obedient. If we do not have a beneficially good conscience toward The God, it is because we are disobedient. If your conscience is neither defiled nor seared, it will tell you when you have disobeyed or done wrong. When your conscience has been quickened by The Spirit of The God your conscience will tell you when you are not fulfilling all righteousness, when you are not obeying The Father, when you are not obeying The God’s Word. So disobedience and a lack of an answer of a good conscience are synonymous. Just as obedience and the answer of a good conscience are synonymous.

What is the meaning of Righteousness? Righteousness is a state of acceptance with The God. It is a quality of character which is reflected in one’s conduct, living upright to The God’s standard. It is the proper action resulting from righteousness in character. Man’s standard of uprightness and therefore self-righteousness falls far short of The God’s standard of righteousness. Often humans confuse righteousness and holiness. Holiness is an attitude toward sin and the conduct of life relative to that attitude. Righteousness is the quality of uprightness stemming from one’s character. But before one can meet the God’s standard of righteousness, the Righteousness of The Lord Jesus Christ must be imputed through repentance and faith in Him and His work of redemption. The God’s righteousness was demonstrated and fully fulfilled in the Life of The Lord Jesus Christ. His righteousness is imputed to those who respond in repentance and faith to appropriate His wonderful salvation procured in His death on Calvary’s cross under the Wrath of The God and His resurrection-ascension on behalf of those who are obedient and faithful through persistent committed trust in Him.

But in order for The Lord Jesus Christ to be able to impute His righteousness, He must fulfill all righteousness. No one can enter the Kingdom of The God and Righteousness with out being baptized unto righteousness. Even the King Himself must be baptized before He can offer The Kingdom. So The Lord Jesus Christ then, in reality is setting the example of obedience and of fulfilling all righteousness. It becometh us to follow His example to demonstrate we have His righteousness fully fulfilled in us appropriated by repentance toward The God and persistent faith in The God’s Son, The Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ, by His life, fulfilled all the righteousness of the Law (Rom. 5:18). He could challenge the self-righteous Pharisees, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” (Jn. 8:46). Who among you can point to a sin in my life? He was sinless (Heb. 7:26) and became the substitute for all on the cross of Calvary where He became a curse for us (Gal. 3:13). The reason He was able to become a curse for us is because in His life He fulfilled all the righteousness of the law and could become The Substitute and Savior of all who totally, persistently commit trust in Him. But before beginning His Earthly ministry and offering His Kingdom to The God’s people, His cousin, John the Baptizer is the one who is used by The God to enable Him to complete the fulfillment of all righteousness. However John was reluctant to do this until he was told, “. . . it is proper to us to fully fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented and baptized Jesus. Therefore the particular message proclaimed is “Fully fulfill all righteousness!”

    B. A FAITH PROVEN (or exercised) (Mt. 3:15).

The faith is proven by the act of fulfilling all righteousness. The faith of The Lord Jesus Christ was proven by His obedience to The Father and to the prophecies in The Old Testament. There is no other way! Righteousness is served (Rom. 6:16-19) by obedience to The God and The Holy Scriptures. Jesus came to John with a life that proved he was righteous. Faith in The Lord Jesus Christ that results in the recognition that the old human is crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:6) is proven to be dead first, then by being buried in the waters of baptism. Baptism is a must for an adult to be obedient and fulfill righteousness.

    C. AN ACTION PERFORMED (Mt. 3:15c).

We already mentioned what that action was. It was an action of obedience to fulfill all righteousness and as pointed out above, Peter wrote that baptism for disciples is a baptism that gives an answer of a good conscience toward God. Therefore the action performed is obedience by two adults. There were two acts of obedience performed by two adults in the baptism of Christ (Mt. 3:15c): obedience on the part of John the baptizer and obedience on the part of The Lord Jesus Christ. Why? Because The Lord Jesus Christ could not fully fulfill all righteousness without John’s reciprocation. John must cooperate with Him to fully fulfill all righteousness. It was not enough for Jesus to desire to be baptized, John must baptize Him. Jesus told John, “. . . in this way it is proper for us to fully fulfill all righteousness.”

When it was put on John’s shoulders that he must be obedient to Christ and to all righteousness, then he consented. He obeyed and baptized Him. Therefore this baptism required obedience by John and by Jesus, both of whom were adults over thirty years of age (Lk. 3:23). [John was born six months before Jesus (Lk. 1:24,26).]

Baptism is not for children to be baptized by adults or by children, it is for adult disciples to be baptized by adult mature male disciples of The Lord Jesus Christ or by adult male servants of The God. Notice that Jesus was at least thirty years old before He was baptized (Lk. 3:23). In A Chronological Harmony of The New Testament it was pointed out that it was the fifteenth year of the governing of Kaísahr Teebéhree-ohs that John the Baptizer began his ministry. Kaísahr Teebéhree-ohs began his governing of Rome in A.D. 14. Therefore John began his ministry in early to mid A.D. 29, the same year in which Jesus was baptized and began His ministry “about (‘ωσεì) thirty years of age” (Lk. 3:23). If Jesus was born in Tebet (December-January) 5-4 B.C., then He would have been thirty-three years old (rounded to the nearest decade) when He was baptized (cf. Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, p. 42, Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, 1979). If The Lord Jesus Christ was sinless and perfect in every way, then it would seem reasonable to believe that if children should be baptized, the most likely one to be baptized as a child would be The Lord Jesus Christ Himself. But He did not come for baptism as a child. He did not request baptism as a teenager nor as a young man. As a matter of fact, Jesus delayed baptism until he was a mature adult and well into adulthood - not an adult of twenty years but an adult of more than thirty years of age (c. thirty-three). Now be sure, I am not saying we must wait until thirty years of age before being baptized, but I am saying we have no indication from The Lord Jesus Christ that we should ever baptize children nor be in a hurry to baptize anyone. And we should question the candidate(s) for baptism, why he, she, or they should be baptized.

The Jews recognized manhood and womanhood when a boy or girl came into puberty and became capable of reproduction. They have a ceremony in which to recognize the passing from childhood to adulthood at puberty. This is called Bar Mitzvah for males and Bas Mitzvah for females. When a young man passed his bar mitzvah, he was accepted into the congregation as an adult member. And when puberty is reached, so does the ability to reproduce and become subject to be tempted by immoral sin, which is known as a lust of the flesh. A child does not have full understanding of baptism and reckoning of self to be dead until after puberty. Without that temptation being alive in the body, how can a youngster reckon himself or herself to be dead to self, sin, and the world? Since he or she has not even yet experienced that in his or her body which can cause him or her to sin, how can one be reckoned to be dead until after what must be reckoned dead comes alive in the body? How can he or she reckon self to be dead to sin which is indicated in the act of baptism (Rom. 6:2-4)? The sins of children are on a minor level as compared to those of an adult. A child can recognize and become dead to such sins as lying, stealing, cheating, swearing, anger, all kinds of wrong deeds. But there is yet another temptation to which a child can be capable of yielding after baptism, if baptism takes place in childhood, and of which temptation he or she is not yet aware, either of the intensity or of the full impact on the body.

Baptism signifies a burial of the old sinful life with its lusts, which are to be forsaken. How can anyone forsake lusts which one’s body has not yet had the capacity to experience? If a child is baptized there cannot be a good conscience before God, because it is not a burial after the fact, it is a burial before the fact. If you bury someone before that one is dead, you are committing homicide. If one baptizes someone before he or she is reckoned dead, that one is committing spiritual homicide. There are numerous things a child is not able to handle yet. If your little four-year old son wants to carry his father’s thirty-five or fifty pound tool box, would you allow it? No! or you would not be a good parent. Why? It is too heavy for an average youngster to lift. There are certain things a child cannot carry physically or handle mentally until strong enough or old enough to handle them. Would you turn over your finances with all your assets to a ten year old child? A child can reckon himself or herself to be dead to the capacity which he or she now has, but not to the capacity to which the child’s body has not attained. He or she should be counseled when the desire to be baptized is expressed.

“The God understands your heart. He knows your desire to follow The Lord Jesus Christ and will count that desire to be effective for baptism as you live to prove you are ready for baptism. But now you need to persistently live honoring and pleasing to The God a life persistently committed to Christ and learn to be His disciple. Then when you become a committed disciple of Christ, grow older (pass puberty), and reckon yourself to be dead to self, sin, and the world, then you can be baptized.”

The Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to baptize disciples, not converts! (Mt. 28:19,20). A child can not fulfill the life of a disciple [See papers on Conditions of Discipleship on our website @ www.happyheralds.org or .com]. It is more important to train a child to become a disciple so that baptism really has meaning, than to baptize him or her too soon. A child can grow in the Lord, but if you take away everything that he or she has to look forward to in growth and development, you will stunt the desire to grow and mature properly. Many who have been baptized too young have fallen into deep immoral sin and as a result have shipwrecked their lives. We need to encourage, teach, and treat children as lambs of the church, but they must be baptized when they become adults, not before. They must show that they belong to Christ first as adults. There is no Scriptural reason for baptizing a child. There will be other passages of Scripture to substantiate this. Here just the beginning of laying a foundation for establishing this Scriptural truth is laid. By the time this book is finished you will see that there are other cases where it was men and women that were baptized and there is no place in the Scriptures where a child is ever baptized. To be baptized as a child has often given false security after falling into deep sin.

Jesus came to John with a life that proved that He was righteous and the action of baptism being performed fully completed the fulfillment of righteousness. Without righteousness in the life of the candidate, baptism is an empty ritual which has no basis, nor bearing on eternity, nor real spiritual meaning before The True God, and produces regrets after that candidate learns the true and full meaning of baptism. [The author regrets that this truth was not fully taught at the time he was baptized as a teenager. It was not learned until years after baptism.]

    D. THE CONFESSION PRONOUNCED (Mt. 3:17; Lk. 3:22).

The confession came from Heaven by The Father. Jesus did not make a confession, but His Father did. The God called out of Heaven, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” This confession was pronounced by The Father from Heaven about Jesus, The Christ. This confession confirmed the deity of The Lord Jesus Christ and enabled John the Baptizer to accurately, forcefully, and boldly to testify concerning the deity of His cousin.


The Lord Jesus Christ declared that the meaning of His baptism is righteousness (Mt. 3:15). Jesus came in obedience to The Father and thus in obedience to the Law. He not only fully filled the righteousness of the Law but He fully filled all righteousness. The baptism of disciples of Christ in order to be valid requires a determination and persistence to fulfill righteousness in their lives. To do this, persistent research of and obedience to all Scripture is required (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16,17 cf. Acts 2:41,42).

“Give persevering attention of yourself to stand tried and approved after examination alongside The God, as an unashamed worker correctly understanding and expounding The Word of The Truth! . . . All Scripture |is| God-breathed and beneficial: for teaching, for inner conviction, for correcting[setting straight again], for discipline which |is| in righteousness in order that the human of The God be fitted [entirely suited] and be completely qualified[to accomplish] for every beneficially good work” (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16,17 APT).

“So on the one hand the ones, who heartily received his /word delightedly, were baptized. And that /day about three thousand souls were added to[the face of] |them|. Then on the other hand they were persevering[remain in constant readiness] in the doctrine of the apostles and in the fellowship and in the breaking of the bread loaf into pieces and in the prayers” (Acts 2:41,42 APT) .

We who have been baptized must persistently follow in the steps of those early disciples who were the founding members of the Church.


The indication that is produced by this baptism is full fulfillment of all righteousness. Repeating this phrase is not intended to belabor a point. But the whole aspect of The Lord Jesus Christ’s baptism is a complete fulfillment of all righteousness. This baptism indicated and identified the Righteous One, Who alone could keep the Law and had come in all the power of The God, was perfectly righteous and perfectly fit to be The Savior of all mankind. It was after this event that He was led up of The Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. It was in the power of The God that He resisted the temptation of the devil. He preached the Gospel of the Kingdom. He taught the sermon on the mount. He healed all manner of sickness and diseases. He cast out demons. So the power of The God was upon Him. This baptism unto righteousness indicated that this was so. The life of living to prove His righteousness and Messiahship has ended and His ministry and mission as Messiah has begun. The life of preparation for His ministry is ended. He was led into the wilderness for the purpose of proving that He is capable of giving His life a ransom for many. And He overcame. For only a sinless and spotless perfect Substitute could avail to procure a complete Salvation for all mankind.


This baptism identified The Lord Jesus Christ as God’s beloved Son. It identified The Lord Jesus Christ as The Fulfiller of All Righteousness. The God indicated that This Lord Jesus Christ was His Beloved Son in Whom He is constantly delighted. The God identified Him as His own beloved Son. The Lord Jesus Christ identified Himself as The Fulfiller of all righteousness. But he could not have done it without John's obedience, cooperation, and participation. The Lord Jesus Christ came to fully fulfill righteousness in every human, that includes you and me. But He can only fully fulfill righteousness in you if you like John cooperate with Him through repentance, persistent faith, and persistent obedience. That goes for me too. The choice is yours! Righteousness has been procured and is available for you if you choose. Will you identify with The Lord Jesus Christ, The Fulfiller of Righteousness by appropriating His Righteousness?

Before closing this chapter, I would like you to notice something about mode and method. Bapt0 means “to dip, to whelm, to cover wholly with a fluid.” Matthew states that “Jesus went up straightway out of the water” (Mt. 3:16). There is only one way you can ‘come up out of’ water and that is if you have been ‘down into and under’ water. This is found also recorded by Mark, “And straightway coming up out of the water” (1:10). The two of them came up out of the water. So putting water on somebody by sprinkling or by pouring is not the same as New Testament baptism because both the baptized and the baptizer came up out of the water. They both went down into the water. They were both in the water together. The baptized one went down under the water. Then they both came up out of the water. Therefore the method of baptism cannot be either sprinkling or pouring. The method always requires “going down into” and “coming up out of,” which action only is an integral part of baptism by immersion. The reason for, the indication of, and the result of baptism are also integral parts of the action.


    The Baptism unto Moses took place at the beginning of Israel’s relationship to The God under the Law. The people of Israel were delivered from the power of sin and from the world behind them through redemption by the blood of the lamb in Egypt and through redemption by power in passing through the Red Sea. This was accomplished so that the world had no more dominion and control over them. They were free from bondage and Sin and were identified with The True God to be an habitation for The God.

    The Baptism by John took place at the close of Israel’s relationship to God under the Law. Those Jews baptized by John after repentance were identified with the Kingdom of God and Heaven, marking those Israelites out as those who were forgiven of their sins and awaiting the coming of Christ (The Messiah) because not all Israel was awaiting The Messiah. These two baptisms recorded in The New Testament refer to The Old Testament. One baptism referred to the initiation of a nation under Law and the other the conclusion of the nation under Law and introduced them to the new relationship to The Messiah.

The Baptism of Christ took place at the beginning of the ministry of The Lord Jesus Christ in preparation of The New Covenant and indicated His righteousness. It identified Him as The Fulfiller of all Righteousness. This Baptism introduced The One Who is The Lamb of The God Who fulfilled all righteousness enabling Him to take away Sin and establish righteousness.


The Baptism of The Christ indicates that He is The Fulfiller of All Righteousness and by His death, burial, and resurrection-ascension has completely fulfilled all righteousness. Additionally He has made imputed righteousness available to every human who will appropriate it through repentance, persistent faith, and persistent obedience. The choice is yours! You can appropriate it or you can openly reject or nonchalantly neglect it. What will you do with this remarkable, invaluable, eternal opportunity for you to become righteous, be baptized, and be prepared for the Kingdom of The God?

| | understood   $singular   &plural   /the  0no article  +masculine  ~neuter
[ ]basic meaning  / \ manuscripts divided   ^femine

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