Baptism “in the Name of Christ”

Brother Lipscomb: There is a people among us who deny the authority in Matthew 28:19, where Jesus says: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” They say this baptism is not in the name of Christ, and they claim all the authority we have to baptize was given by Peter on the day of Pentecost; that that was in the name of Jesus Christ, and not in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. They say Christ is head, and we must be baptized in his name only; and in so doing we honor Christ first, and in honoring him we honor God and the Holy Ghost. They further say that Peter had power to bind and loose whatsoever he would on earth and it should be bound in heaven; and he nowhere bound baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Please give us your views through the Gospel Advocate. Please state if the baptism in Matthew 28:19 is in the name of Christ. Did Peter have power to bind or loose anything that Christ did not bind or loose?

 

Either our brother misunderstands the people of whom he speaks or they fail to understand very plain and simple matters. To do a thing in the name of a person is to do it by the authority of that person. To baptize in the name or by the authority of Jesus, one must have his authority. He must authorize them to do it. The apostles, as well as others, must baptize in the name of Jesus Christ. He must give that authority. In Matthew 28:19 there is no account of any baptism being performed. It only tells that Jesus authorized his disciples to go and baptize. They did this first at Pentecost. “All power [all authority] is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore [by my authority], 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.” (Matthew 28:18-20.) In this Jesus authorizes the apostles to teach and baptize by his authority, or in his name.

On Pentecost, about ten days after his ascension, the Holy Spirit came, and the apostles did what Christ authorized them to do in Matthew 28:19. They, in his name, or by his authority, preached and baptized. The authority was Matthew 28:19. They acted on this authority at Pentecost; they preached in the name of Jesus Christ. The two scriptures stand related to each other as the giving of a command and the obeying it. Jesus, in Matthew 28:19, commands the disciples; on Pentecost, they obeyed this command. What Jesus commanded, the apostles did. One is doing what the other commanded to be done. Whatever is done in the name of Jesus Christ is done in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; for these three are one. Jesus commanded what he had heard of his Father, and the Holy Spirit was sent in the name of Jesus Christ, to call to their remembrance all things they had heard of Christ (John 14:26). “He will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of [or from] himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak” (John 16:13). Whatever is done in the name of one is done in the name of the three.

Again, a man must come into a house before he can live and act in it; so we must come into the names of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit before we can act in his name. Then persons must be baptized into Christ before they can act in him or by his authority. In Matthew 28:19 the proper translation as given in the Revision and in all late translations is: “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.” They are put into the names of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit by baptism. They are then in condition to act in his name, as members of his body and as his servants; and when they were baptized into these names, the apostles were to teach them to do all that Jesus had commanded them, which included teaching and baptizing others, all people, of every nation. They are to be baptized into his name, then in his name, or by his authority, they are to baptize others, just as the apostles did. Jesus told the apostles: “But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Neither Peter nor the apostles were authorized to do anything save as the Holy Spirit guided them to do what Jesus had taught them.

David Lipscomb

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The Meaning of “At Hand”

 

A Baptist brother, preaching on “The Establishment of the Kingdom,” quoted Matthew 11:12 and Luke 16:16-21. In explaining Matthew 3:2, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” he says it means “already there.” He gave for an example that having received a letter, to which we were going to reply, we would say: “Yours of — is at hand.” Please give us your views on the same.

The Greek verb rendered by the phrase “is at hand” in our Common Version literally signifies to approach, to draw near. The perfect tense is used in this passage in the Greek, and would be correctly rendered has come near, has approached. To draw near is one thing, and to be actually present, set up, is another.

We have the very same Greek word, in the same tense, differently rendered, in Luke 10, where the Savior, in giving instructions to the seventy, tells them if they entered a house or city that would not receive them, to shake the dust from their feet against them, and tells them to say: “Notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.” This shows exactly what is meant in Matthew 3 — that the kingdom was nigh unto them. The kingdom of God was near when John began his preaching, and this is just what is said in the passage. John began the preparatory state of the kingdom, and this preparatory state continued till the crucifixion of Jesus, and the church was fully set up when the Spirit came upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost. The kingdom was present in its preparatory state when John began his preaching, and this explains the passages that speak of the kingdom as present while Christ was still on earth, such as when Jesus says: “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). The kingdom was present, in its preparatory state and suffered violence before Jesus died; but after this Jesus said: “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). The words will build signify something to be done in the future, as everyone knows; and as this was said after the other passage which speaks of the kingdom as already suffering violence, the first one must refer to the preparatory state, in which it was then present, while the other refers to the full establishment of the church, which was then in the future, but was fully established on the day of Pentecost, when three thousand entered by a law that was never preached to men on this earth till that day.

Elisha G. Sewell

Asking, Seeking, Knocking

What is meant by saying: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you?” (Matt. 7:7.) Who is he talking to? Also please explain verse 11 and Acts 2:41.

It seems to me three plainer sentences cannot be found in the Bible. They mean exactly what they say, meaning always, as Christ so often declares, that we shall ask according to God’s will, seek where he has directed, and knock at his appointed door, and the blessings asked, sought, and knocked for shall be obtained. There is nothing mysterious or singular or difficult to understand that we can see. This is laid down as a general principle. Many specific directions involving this same principle, with the modifications, are presented in the Bible. “If we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us.” (I John 4:14.) “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss.” (James 4:3.) “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are.” (Luke 13:24f) These show that the asking, seeking, knocking must be done according to the will of God, else they cannot meet the promise. Verse 11 cannot be made plainer. It says God is more ready to give good things to his children than we are to ours. Acts 2:41 says those who received the words spoken by Peter were baptized as he directed, and three thousand were added to them (the disciples).

When Were the Apostles Inspired?

Brother Lipscomb: I want you to explain when the twelve apostles were inspired — on the day of Pentecost or before? I think they were before, for Matthew 10:7f says: “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” Mark 6:13 also says: “And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.” Luke 9:1 also says: “Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.”

There can be no doubt but that the apostles were endowed with the power of working miracles and possessed a measure of the Spirit of inspiration previous to the day of Pentecost. But the Holy Spirit came in the fullness of his power on Pentecost, and they were then fully endued with the knowledge which the Spirit revealed and were plenarily inspired. There are different degrees of inspiration, corresponding to the measure of the Spirit received. The full apostolic measure was received on Pentecost.

 David Lipscomb

Were the Apostles Baptized?

I am requested to ask Brother E.G. Sewell to write a piece in regard to the proof of the baptism of the apostles.

Regarding John the Baptist it was said: “And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:16f) John was to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. How did he do this? Answer: “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” (Luke 3:3.) Every man that heard and believed the preaching of John, repented, and was baptized by him, received remission of sins, and in this way was made ready, prepared for the Lord. But those that refused to be baptized of John, rejected the counsel of God against themselves. (Luke 7:30.) When Christ came and selected his apostles, they were from among his disciples, and his first disciples were assuredly of those baptized by John, and were thus made ready for him. Therefore, the apostles were baptized by John in Jordan.

To suppose that the Savior would select his apostles from among men that rejected the baptism of John, when John’s mission was to make ready a people prepared for the Lord, is preposterous, especially so when those that rejected John’s baptism rejected the counsel of God. And would Jesus have selected his apostles from those that rejected his Father? Impossible, because Christ says of the apostles in his prayer to his Father: “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” (John 17:12)

God gave the apostles to Christ; and can anyone believe that God – after sending John the Baptist before Christ to prepare his way, to make his paths straight, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord – would then give him the apostles from among those that refused John’s baptism, which means they had refused God himself? The man that could believe that is not to be reasoned with. Moreover, God required Christ, his own Son, to be baptized of John before he had showed himself to Israel and before he owned him as his Son in the presence of the people; and Christ recognized the authority and will of the Father in the matter of baptism when he said to John: “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.”

Thus it was the will of God that Christ should be baptized. Now, will anyone say that God, after requiring Jesus to be baptized, having also sent John before him to make ready a people for him, would then select the apostles out of a lot of men that had already rejected him in refusing John’s baptism and give them to his Son as rebels against himself, when he did not own his own Son in the presence of the people till he was baptized? A man that can believe this could very easily believe any error that has ever been taught by man, even down to the effusions of Robert Ingersoll. But surely these reasons are sufficient to convince anyone that believes the Bible that the apostles were baptized by John.

Elisha G. Sewell

When was Christ Anointed?

When was Christ anointed Prophet, Priest, and King?

Christ says: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor,’’ etc. (Luke 4:18.) The Lord was anointed as a preacher and teacher when the Holy Spirit was given him after his baptism, as is indicated in this passage. But he was not constituted high priest while he was on this earth. Paul says: “For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law.” (Hebrews 8:4.) This is equivalent to saying that he was not a priest while he was on earth. But the last verse of Hebrews 7 tells when he was made high priest, and how: “For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.”

“The word of the oath, which was since the law.” The law did not die till the death of Christ. It is, therefore, certain that Christ was not made high priest till after his death; and after his death and up to the ascension he was not made high priest. Hence he was made high priest when he ascended, and was made “King of kings, and Lord of lords,” at the right hand of God in heaven. He is there now as our high priest, to appear in the presence of God for us.

Angels Rejoicing and Future Recognition

Please explain through the Gospel Advocate the following verse: “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.” (Luke 15:7.)

In 1 Cor. 13:12, does Paul mean that we shall see each other face to face and know each other?

 

The passage in Luke, we think, means just what it says. There is, doubtless, joy in heaven over a sinner that truly repents, truly turns from sin into the service of God. The angels of heaven, doubtless, know what is going on in earth, as angels are ministers for those who shall be heirs of salvation. This passage shows the interest that is felt and manifested in behalf of men by those in heaven.

As to the passage in Corinthians, we cannot speak definitely. Some think that Paul in this passage had reference to the perfected state of the church and to the completeness of the revelation of all matters pertaining to the new institution, so that they could comprehend at once the whole scheme of human redemption. In the days of the apostles these things were only given in parts—just so much at a time as was needed at a certain place or time or occasion; but finally, little by little, the whole was fully given, until they could comprehend the whole matter, as a friend knows his friend when face to face with him. Others, however, think Paul had reference to heaven, when all the fullness of God’s mercy and love will be fully and clearly disclosed before our eyes, and that then we shall know all things pertaining to eternity. And if this idea is correct, then the passage certainly includes the idea that we shall know each other there. We do not think that either interpretation would do violence to other passages on the subject; and we, therefore, will not say definitely, but have generally inclined to the first-named interpretation.