Will Water Baptism Be Practiced During the Tribulation?

As believers that the ritual rite of water baptism was set aside when Israel was set aside (see author’s article entitled, “Understanding Baptism in this Age of Grace”), one question that is raised periodically is whether this ceremony will be practiced during the tribulation, when God deals primarily with Israel once again.  This brief article will try to address this topic in a short, concise and yet thorough manner.

Under the Law, Israel was commanded to observe certain “various washings” (baptisms in the Greek)-Hebrews 9:10.  One of these baptisms was the practice of ceremonially washing/cleansing the priests who would serve Israel for God-Exodus 29:4 and Lev. 8:6, etc.  This was symbolic of what Christ would do on the cross by washing away sin with His blood.  During the three year ministry of Christ in Israel, He called them to repentance and to observe water baptism, whether it was through John the Baptist or His own apostles-Matthew 3:11 and John 3:22, etc.  Besides His purpose of going to the cross for the sins of the world, one of Christ’s major ministries while He walked the dusty roads of Galilee was to prepare Israel for the coming tribulation and the kingdom to follow.  That is why the Holy Scripture calls Christ’s message the “gospel (good news) of the kingdom”-Matthew 4:23 and 9:35, etc.  It is this gospel that will be preached during the tribulation-Matthew 24:14.  In this kingdom, Israel is to be the priests that God would use to reach the nations-Exodus 19:6, Isaiah 61:6 and Zechariah 8:23.  I believe that this is one of the reasons why Israel needed to be baptized, even after the cross-Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:15-16, etc.  There is a seldom mentioned parable that Christ rehearses in Luke 13:6-9 in which it is clear that God was not done dealing with Israel after the cross.  This parable shows that it wasn’t until one year later that God judicially set Israel aside.  This explains totally why Peter and the rest of the apostles followed the same practice of calling Israel to repentance and water baptism-Acts 2:37-38. Pentecost was clearly within the one year timeline that Christ Himself laid out in that parable in Luke 13.  So, obviously, this is NOT the beginning of the age of grace and the Body of Christ (see author’s article entitled “Acts 2-The Beginning of the Body of Christ?”).  They were still attempting to prepare Israel for their role as priests in the coming millennial kingdom.  According to prophecy-Psalm 2:1-6, Isaiah 61:1-3, Daniel 9:24-27, and Zechariah 13:7-9, etc. after Israel’s (and the world’s) rejection of God’s Christ, the pouring out of God’s wrath should have commenced, which we call the tribulation, or the “time of Jacob’s trouble,” as Jeremiah termed it in chapter 30:7 (KJV), and then the kingdom would be realized.

But, God had other plans that He had never revealed before.  Instead of bringing in the prophesied “time of Jacob’s trouble”, He saved Saul of Tarsus and called him to be his top ambassador to go the Gentiles with the gospel of the grace of God-Acts 20:24.  Members of the Body of Christ are not priests under the Law, but ambassadors under grace-Romans 6:14, 2 Corinthians 5:20, etc. Therefore, no water baptism is required in this age of grace.

When God calls the Body of Christ home to heaven-1 Corinthians 15:51-52, Philippians 3:20, and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; He will pick up right where He left off with Israel.  The tribulation will commence, and the gospel of the kingdom, of which water baptism was central to preparing Israel for their role as priests in this kingdom, will be preached again just as Christ said it would-Matthew 24:14, including by the two witnesses mentioned in Revelation 11. This gospel of the kingdom was preached by Christ under the Law-Galatians 4:4, and it would therefore follow that the Law will be resumed as well during the tribulation.  In fact, Daniel 9:24-27 indicates that sacrifices will commence again, and Jesus spoke of Sabbath keeping in Matthew 24, which is all tribulation ground (compare with Revelation 6).  Christ gave no indication or instruction that water baptism would cease during that tribulation period.  So, for at least the first half of the tribulation, the Law will be followed and presumably water baptism, which is incorporated into the Holy Law that God gave to Israel.

As for the second half of the tribulation, some speculation must be done.  A remnant of Israel will flee into the desert and will be providentially taken care of by God-Matthew 24 and Revelation 12.  Will there be a makeshift temple in the wilderness with lavers for baptisms like in the desert with Moses?  How about during the 1000 year kingdom age?  There seems to be some form of Law adhered to during the reign of Christ on earth-Isaiah 19, 56 and 60 and Zechariah 14, etc.  Israel will still be the priests of this age, and new babies will be born that will need to be consecrated as priests, so maybe there will still be water baptism practiced in Israel in the Millennium.  Will water baptism be part of their remembrance ceremonies during the kingdom age?  Some of these questions seem to be unanswered in Scripture, at least to me and my scant knowledge of it.  I pray that this article will increase the fervor of anyone who reads it to dig and dig and dig further into the treasure trove that God has given us-His Word.

 

 

Article written by Paul D. Pedro of Oakdale, Minnesota Copyright 2016

7 Comments

  1. beameup
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    Fantastic and absolutely correct information. Unfortunately, most Christians are uninformed or reject truth.

  2. beameup
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    If the Nation of Israel is to become a “kingdom of priests” Ex 19:6, then every Israeli male will have to go through “baptism” (ceremonial washing, ie: John’s baptism) to become a priest after the order of Melchizedek.

  3. Paul
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    The order of Melchizedek, I believe is a term reserved only for the Lord Jesus Christ-both king and priest, as the letter to the Hebrews explains in chapter seven. Jesus’ baptism by John, I believe had nothing to do with Melchizedek. Under the Law, any priest that served was to be washed in symbol. Jesus came to fulfill that Law. He had identified himself with man by becoming one in Bethlehem, and with Israel through John’s baptism. I don’t believe that Melchizedek’s priesthood is in view here.

  4. beameup
    Posted March 6, 2016 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    In order for Exodus 19:6 to be fulfilled, every male in Millennial Israel will become a priest. In Ezekiel ch. 40-48 we see the Millennial Kingdom, the Temple, and the division of the land. There is a portion of land where the Levites serve the Lord around Jerusalem. So, with this in mind, what “order” of priesthood would the remainder of Israelis be under? Jesus was of the tribe of Judah, not a Levite.
    PS: It is the belief of many that the Melchizedek that Abraham visited was in fact Noah’s son Shem, as he was still alive at the time of Abraham.

  5. Paul
    Posted March 12, 2016 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I believe that Melchizedek was actually an O.T. appearance of Christ. Who else could be called “king of righteousness” and “king of peace” (Hebrews 7:2)?

    See the mini study below.

    How is Christ a priest in the order of Melchizedek?

    1. Both are men. Melchizedek-Hebrews 5:1…Christ-1 Timothy
    2:5and Hebrews 2:17-18.
    2. Both are kings and priests.
    Melchizedek-Genesis 14:18…Christ-Psalm 110:4 and Zechariah
    6:12-13.
    3. Both are appointed by God. Melchizedek-Hebrews 5:4…Christ-
    Psalm 110:4.
    4. Both are called “king of righteousness and peace”.
    Melchizedek-Hebrews 7:2…
    Christ-Isaiah 9:6-7.
    5. Both are priests forever. Melchizedek-Hebrews 7:3, 8 and
    16…Christ-Hebrews 5:10, 6:20
    and 7:23-24.
    6. Both provide bread and wine to revive. Melchizedek-Genesis
    14:18…Christ-Matthew 26.
    7. Both superior to Israel as they both received tithes from
    Israel. Melchizedek through Abram-
    Genesis 14:20…Christ through the tithes paid to the
    Levitical priests.
    8. Both bless the people and then God. Melchizedek-Genesis
    14:19-20…Christ-Hebrews 2:12.

    Interesting comparisons of the account of Melchizedek and Christ.

    1. In Genesis 14, Melchizedek interrupted the meeting between
    the king of Sodom and Abram. Notice what the king of Sodom
    was doing. He was tempting Abram-Genesis 14:19-22. After
    Melchizedek’s interchange and reminder of Abram’s God, Abram
    resisted the temptation.
    This is just like what Christ does for us.-1 Corinthians
    10:13, Hebrews 2:16-18 and 4:15-16.

    2. Melchizedek is hidden in the OT until he appears after the
    defeat of the kings of the earth. He blesses Abram (Israel
    by extension) and Abram refused to take anything from the
    king of Sodom-Genesis 14:17-24. Christ is now hidden to
    Israel in heaven (Acts 3:21) and won’t appear until the
    kings of the earth are made a foot stool for Him-Psalm
    110:1. Christ will then bless Israel and believers who
    refused to take anything from the king of the earth-the
    antichrist or his mark-Revelation 19-20.

    3. It is also interesting to note that in the Dead Sea scrolls,
    there are references to the coming of the Messiah and His
    earthly reign. In these passages the Messiah is called
    Melchizedek.

    4. In John 8:56, Jesus said that “Abraham rejoiced to see My
    day, and he saw and was glad.” Could Christ have been
    referring to when Abram met Melchizedek in his earthly
    position as King of Salem (Jerusalem) and King of Peace as
    priest of the Most High God?

  6. Posted February 16, 2018 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Appreciating the timke and energy you put into your blog and in depoth information youu offer.
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  7. Paul Pedro
    Posted February 17, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the kind words Les. The truth is what matters and not tradition. If you are interested, there are dispensational lessons by me beginning in Romans 9 on YouTube. Just go to YouTube and put “Bible study with Paul Pedro” in the search engine. To God be the glory!

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