Baptized for the Dead (Full Text)

1 Corinthians 15:29

Difficult Interpretations of Scripture

Volume 1

Kathy L McFarland

1 Corinthians 15:12‐34, KJV

Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die. Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. (1 Corinthians 15:12‐34, KJV)

Introduction

There is only one mention of “baptism for the dead,” written in a letter by Paul to the Corinthians as an elucidation of his point concerning resurrection of believers (1 Corinthians 15:12‐34). Though every word in Scripture is intentional to express God’s Truth, with a singular use no less valuable than all other words, interpretation of its exact meaning is difficult when comparative uses are not available. This singular idea has been used throughout the history of Christianity by creating debates and establishing odd doctrines that operate outside the salvation of Jesus Christ as revealed through His Gospel.

Vicarious baptism was a practice by the Marcionites. The followers of Cerinthus also participated in the baptism of the dead. However, it is the Latter‐Day Saints (LDS) (Mormon) implementation and declaration of one part of their tripartite mission statement to “proclaim the gospel, perfect the Saints, and redeem the dead,”1 that continues to be newsworthy in these modern times. Their belief that no one can enter the “celestial” heaven without baptism motivates their representational baptismal dunking as one of the most important temple works that can be accomplished by Mormon adherents.2 Religious autonomy seems radically challenged in these unauthorized procurator baptisms that lead to other faiths embraced in life by devout believers being removed posthumously by heavy‐handed substitution with this practice. These actions have led to the Mormon/Jewish controversy that is focused upon “the wrongful posthumous baptism of Jewish dead continues, despite repeated denials by the disingenuous Mormon leadership.”3

Jewish leaders call the zealous baptism of unrelated Jews “arrogant and disrespectful to the dead, especially the Holocaust victims”4 as Mormon believers practice proxy baptism in their temple work so the non‐Mormon dead can be granted entrance into the celestial heaven according to their doctrine.

A deep biblical study of baptism application with regards to the dead can only go so far to reveal God’s Truth since there is only one direct reference in Scripture (1 Corinthians 15:29). However, when the sacrament of Baptism and Salvation through Christ is applied with strict adherence to biblical development, then the idea of baptism for the dead can be illuminated and understood theologically and ultimately prevent odd, zealous applications of misguided activity that refutes the Gospel of Christ.

Jewish and Early Christianity Baptismal Practices and Beliefs The attention‐seeking, first century Jewish philosophical sect of Pharisees placed great emphasis on public showing of their faith and accentuated the ceremonial rites which included baptism.5 This emphasis upon public‐viewed baptisms was not shared by early Christians at first; but by the second century some Christian leaders wrongly declared baptism necessary for salvation.6

The Essenes were an austere Jewish philosophical sect with adherence to strong discipline that allowed them to exceed the virtues of the Sadducee and Pharisee sects by “cultivating a peculiar sanctity” according to Josephus.7 Though they did not practice rituals or ceremonies, and considered “external rites to be without value in spiritual development,”8 the entry into the sect required an observation period and probation to confirm temperance for one year before the use of the “purer kind of holy water.”9

One of the sectarian manuscripts written for the Qumranian Essene sect was found with the Dead Sea Scrolls discoveries, The Sectarian Manual of Discipline (DSD), which revealed the Essenes custom of holy living that required a repentance of sin, rejection of evil, confession of faith and works of righteousness in step with the works of God always.10 But, there was no indication of actual baptism or a rite of purification following the year of probation.11

While a causal inference link with the New Testament idea of “baptism” and the Essene use of “holy water” is sometimes connected as proof of transitioning Jewish belief with Christian practice, there is absolutely no evidence to support this supposition.

It was John the Baptist’s works recorded in the New Testament that began a transitioning of “baptism with water” with the promise of the baptism of “Holy Ghost and fire” to come (Luke 3:16). Some scholars suggest that John’s baptism was derived from the baptism of proselytes among the Jews, while others claim the development of baptism to have first originated with the Essenes and brought forward by John from a shared experience with the sect as a child.12 There is no proof for this idea, though, many Christian scholars explore the concept of the Qumran prototype of John’s baptism often.13 14 John the Baptist is not mentioned in any of the “820 fragmentary or complete manuscripts found in the eleven Qumran caves” according to author Joseph A. Fitzmyer.15

Since there is no perfect evidence for or against John the Baptist’s involvement with the Qumranian Essenes, the circumstantial likeness should probably be ignored. One thing is certain, however; in both the sect of Essenes and John the Baptist’s teachings, partaking of the most holy water or water baptism required a repentance of sin and a rejection of evil to purify themselves to one day meet the LORD God. While the Jewish Essenes prepared for the coming of the LORD God in the future, John the Baptist understood that his cousin as God’s only begotten Son, the Messiah Jesus Christ, would soon lead believers toward faith in the LORD God and righteousness to complete His works. Whether the Essenes actually did baptism with their Holy Water to initiate recruits into their community, or John the Baptist’s water baptism originated solely from the will of the LORD God to prepare the path of the coming Lord Jesus Christ, it is most certain that the dedicated believers were NOT baptized WITHOUT regard of their repentance and rejection of evil. Thus, it is highly unlikely that the baptism of actual dead people would be accepted by the Essenes or John the Baptist as a valid salvation tool, since the dead are unable to actively repent when life has ended.

Baptism of Water for Repentance

John baptized his followers in the wilderness with water. He was he first to do this sort of baptism based upon its form of full immersion in water and significance declaring the cleansing of a repentant sinner through the forgiveness of God.16 It was the “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4). This water baptism did NOT give forever forgiveness or assistance by God for the penitent’s future sins; once baptized the repenting sinners were required to seek to live a holy life. John’s water baptism DID require a confession of sins (Mark 1:5) because without an acknowledgement of sin, there was no proof for repentance. If the penitent failed to experience the true repentance of a regretful sinner, then the water baptism would have no purpose or effect as did the earlier cases of the flawed sacrifices rejected by God in His Tabernacle. It is important to note that it is God’s Grace that forgives; it is not the baptismal waters that offers salvation. John’s repentance baptism with the full immersion in water symbolizes a death and renewal aspect that will develop foundationally when Christ dies and is Resurrected and the Holy Spirit Baptism is made known to Christ’s followers. The Baptism of John before the Apostolic era required the ceremony to be preceded by complete repentance (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 13:24; Acts 19:4).

The Practice of the Unknown Rite of Baptism for the Dead in Early Christianity

The exact meaning of 1 Corinthians 15:29 has always been elusive to many early and modern‐day Christian scholars confusing modern‐day Catholic traditions and Protestant anti‐sacramentalists, and forcing them to avoid analyzing the obscure ritual ompletely.17 Those modern‐day scholars that bravely jump into the confusing midst of specific interpretation have concluded that either they are deceased Christians, those connected with the Corinthian Christians, or the living Corinthian Christians themselves.18 Regardless, the dead baptized in attention to Paul’s obscure teaching becomes applicable to some beings; correct interpretative analysis requires a critical scholarly look at the possible meaning based upon the known factors of this unattested ritual.

The problems with interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:29 with confidence of capturing original writer’s meaning are numerous; some problematic areas include:

1. Unique Reference

One of the common interpretations of 1 Corinthians 15:29 is the act of vicarious Baptism that was first proposed by Ambrosiaster as a valid exegesis for this specific reference. He explains that Paul had convinced the Corinthians of the coming resurrection, and they thought those that had died before baptism would be destined to miss the rising of the dead or be condemned.

German Benedictine monk Bishop Haymo of Halberstadt, concurred with Ambrosiaster in restating “There were some Corinthians who did not believe in the Resurrection; others believed that those who died after being baptized would rise again, but that those who died without Baptism would either not rise at all or rise only to be damned.”19

Accordingly, Ambrosiaster comments that Paul’s question concerning people baptized in death illustrates to the listeners the witness of their perseverance in faith. Ambrosiaster clarifies that it was not the action of non‐orthodox vicarious baptism that Paul approves, but rather, the acts that declare faith in the future resurrection that bears witness to the LORD God’s Truth. 20 Some modern‐day interpreters continue to represent Ambrosiaster’s belief concerning the representation of vicarious Baptism in 1 Corinthians 15:29.

Some modern‐day theologians, such as Dr. D. A. Carson, point out that “there is no good evidence for vicarious baptism anywhere in the New Testament or among the earliest apostolic fathers.”21 The unique reference does not link to any confirming Scripture. If God was implementing such an extreme practice that went against the salvation through Jesus Christ while a person was alive and could make that acceptance as Savior after death, then He would certainly have included many different references to help His people navigate that odd doctrine.

The one‐reference alone gives evidence that it is not doctrine‐changing, but rather, some other type of declaration by Paul that is offered for consideration by the reader.

2. Original Greek and how it has been defined

Theologians also debate the interpretation of the original Greek word tous baptizomenous22 with some claiming that the vicarious baptizers at Corinth were the “very ones denying the doctrine of the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12).”23 They then extend this argument by pointing out that the Apostle Paul brings attention to those that both denied the Resurrection yet vicariously baptized for the dead to be resurrected as a contradiction of nonsensical belief. Accordingly, Bishop Haymo of Halberstadt. concludes that “there were some Corinthians who did not believe in the Resurrection; others believed that those who died after being baptized would rise again, but that those who died without Baptism would either not rise at all or rise only to be damned.”24

3. Catechumens baptized on the graves of the dead 25

It just might be that the vicariously baptized tradition was began for dear children that had died in infancy before they could be officially baptized. The sorrow of the parents, with the possibilities of never seeing their offspring again, certainly could have been a motivating factor in baptizing their dead bodies through another living.

4. Baptized on behalf of the dead

The festival held amongst Romans for the celebration of “the great expiation” or “lustration” was an early heretical practice to give happiness and good welfare to the dead.26 However, Tertullian stresses in his footnotes that it did not include any notions of “indefinite immortality” or the “recovery of the body.”27

5. Sought baptism only when death was imminent

A folk custom growing from the early days of Christianity to present‐day, involves believers in Christ who plan to accept Him and His Eternal Salvation only close to death before receiving the Baptism of Christ, allowing them to live their lives free of guilt from their sinful natures. Traditionally, death‐bed confessions of faith have frequently been heard; so much so that legal surety of confessions on the deathbed are counted as strong evidence of truth and guilt by most universal court systems. Sometimes the procrastinating confessors will time it just right, and confess Christ before death and receive His Baptism. Often, it doesn’t work out. The procrastinators die, or are mentally inhibited in such a way that baptism right before death never happens.

Early Heretical Greek Practices of Lustration

The Greek practice of baptizing the dead with living people confirmed their confidence that the guilty could separate themselves from the guilt of their crimes through the purification

process.28 Tertullian’s comments compare the Greek practices to those that developed in Rome as similar in nature. “The newly dead would be asked whether he would receive baptism, and he making no answer, the other replied in his stead, and so they baptized the living for the dead” according to Exell.29

Early Heretical Roman Practices of Lustration

The Great Lustration took place during the month of February in Rome. This month was chosen for the cleansing of the dead by heretics paying heed to the name of the month februa. Ovid described the meaning of februa as displaying significant typological meaning for purification as he lists several different proofs of common usage for that specific word. Februa was the name used for instruments of purification, woolen cloths, and swept‐out houses. Toasted spelt and slat was given to officer to cleanse, and boughs, pure trees, wreathes given to priests for the same reason, both called by the name februa. Anything used to cleanse bodies went by the name of Februa in the early times. According to Ovid, “The month is called (February) after these things, because the Luperci purify the whole ground with strips of hide which are their instruments of cleansing, or because the season is pure when once peace‐offerings have been made at the graves and the days devoted to the dead are past. It was believed that every sin and every cause of ill could be wiped out by lustration rites and purgation.”30

It can be surmised that the heretical Roman practices of lustration, where a live person is washed for an unclean dead person upon the false god altar, was accomplished when both were naked. This is based upon the summation of the preference of the gods for the heretics to be without clothing during ceremonies toward their worship.31

Lustratio was first defined as a “purification by ablution in water.”32 Rome did not just conduct lustrations for the atonement for sins; the rites also bestowed blessings by the false gods upon the hopeful participants. It was this type of washing most sought amongst Romans.33 The purification of worshippers by the Roman Catholic Church, through the sprinkling of water or smoke through an instrument of februa, has been traditionally developed within the holy rites of the church partially copying this earlier lustratio practice of cleansing.34

It was not just the Greeks and Romans; when Jews died in the state of ceremonial uncleanness that required purification, one of the friends of the dead would be washed and perform ablution on his behalf, with the deceased being declared clean posthumously. Even the Patristic Church tried to partially copy this odd theological performance by “placing Eucharistic elements in the mouths or hands of the dead.”35

Latter‐Day Saints Redemption of the Dead 36

Surprisingly, proxy baptism is not mentioned in the Book of Mormon.37 Latter Day Saints Prophet Joseph Smith created the ordinances of baptism for the dead (1840), eternal marriage (1841) and eternal proxy marriage (1842) to realize his promise to believers for the establishment of a celestial “kinship‐based covenant system.”38 After Smith’s death, the LDS doctrines encouraged men to choose an apostle as a substitute parent and establish a worthy lineage for him and his family.39 The exact purpose for Smith’s ordinance of “adoption sealings”, is that it would “join entire sealed families in an expanding web of eternally procreative relationships in heaven and eternal glory”40 and thus metaphorically become the “family of God.”41 Smith “implied that the dead are under the same requirements as the living regarding the ordinances of salvation, including baptism and even marriage.”42 After the church relocated to Nauvoo, Illinois, Smith declared that followers “could now act for their friends who had departed this life, and that the plan of salvation was calculated to save all who were willing to obey the requirements of God.”43 Between 1840‐1844, 11,506 dead were baptized by proxy through Smith’s followers in the Mississippi river and later in the new temple. 44

Posthumous baptisms are now performed in over 150 LDS temples throughout the world. Members, usually the young believers, are escorted to a “decorative baptismal font resting on statutes of 12 oxen” where the member, representing a deceased relative, receives baptism through full‐immersion in water.45 The specific dead, that are confined to “spirit prison,” are informed of the proxy baptism and given the choice to accept the salvation graciously performed through baptism by their relatives46. Upon acceptance of proxy baptism, the lost are saved, and go immediately to heaven and receive exaltation according to the flawed doctrine of the LDS church followers.47

The LDS church committed to the removal of the names of Holocaust victims and Jews from the list of those to be posthumously baptized, unless they were direct ancestors of current church members or written permission was obtained from living members of deceased’s family.48 Yet, in 2007, Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal was included on the

International Genealogical Index and scheduled to be posthumously baptized until the Simon Wiesenthal Center intervened and requested the removal of the name.49 The LDS church removed his name from their list and implemented checks and balances that to assure that only Mormon relatives for the proxy baptisms be included in their database. They appeared to regret the inclusion of Wiesenthal’s name, but stressed that proxy baptisms were important because “God wants all his children home again, in families and in glory.”50

It is important to note that the LDS Mormon belief in the baptism for the dead is challenged by the Reorganized Church (RLDS). They argue that baptism for the dead policy of the LDS Church is honoring a practice of paganism recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:29, rather than a misinterpreted Christian behavior. Further, RLDS apostle Russell F. Ralston debates the need for baptism at all, referencing the unbaptized thief on the cross assured of a Heavenly home as Christ promised. Ralston points out that the misinterpretation of the baptism for the dead by the LDS Church places more focus on human saviors than it does in the Divine Savior. The 1970 RLDS World Conference declared the ecumenical Christianity position a “historical” noteworthy to be considered only as an appendix. The RLDS temple in Independence has no plans to construct a baptismal font in the temple basement, and the flawed idea of baptism of the dead is thought only important for church historical theological consideration.

Scriptural Teachings about the Different Things of Salvation and Baptism

There is a great deal of confusion concerning Salvation and Baptism in Christian beliefs. It is imperative Christians have a solid understanding that faith brings salvation with eternal life and baptism brings eternal life quicker. The doctrinal teachings of Jesus Christ must be known before a full understanding of how fundamentally the practice of vicarious baptism of the dead goes against the Gospel of Christ delivered to us in Scripture.

Salvation brings Deliverance (Romans 3:23)

Human souls are not condemned because they do greater sin than others. They are not judged eternally damned for failure to receive the Baptism of Jesus Christ. They are condemned because of their sinful states. All unsaved do bad actions because their hearts, their cores, their complete beings have sin that originated from Adam’s transgression against the Will of God. Some unsaved do really terrible sins, and some unsaved have no outward sign of the terrible condition of sin. Some have good upbringings with diligent, moral guardians that train their children to subdue their sinful natures, and some do not. That does not mean that some are greater sinners than others. All living human beings have the sinful nature inside them (Romans 3:23).

Some may well be able to subdue those basic instincts, while others are controlled by the same sinful natures to do grievous harm to others. Both the noble and the derelict have the same natures inside them. If an unsaved person does not sin, self‐control may be present, but the sinful nature still exists. The actions of the unsaved may well differ in degree, but not in guilt or cause.

Unsaved sinners must understand that they have sinful natures, and are unable to save themselves if they are to receive the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ. All human beings begin life with the sinful nature, and fall short of the glory of God. The LORD God is not present in the sinful realm. Sin is offensive to God. It doesn’t matter how much good people do in the world, if their works are done while they harbor their sinful natures, the greatest of works in humanity, religion, science, art, medicine, education and government are made null by the presence of sin (James 2:26). Those who come from families of “good stock,” those who are well educated and able to advance the human condition to rightful laces, those who do good daily and give all they have to others, and those who struggle daily to live an honest life, are all short of the glory of God, when they still have the original nature of sin.

Salvation brings Deliverance from Sinful Nature (Romans 6:23)

Sinners must die, no matter what they do in this lifetime. The wages that come to the guilty is death. Until death is brought to sinful natures, they remain inside the unsaved, leading them toward their promised destiny of separation from God.

It takes more than the death of the sinful natures to give the unsaved hope, however.

Unsaved people that die and are placed in their graves, are dead unsaved people with no chance for salvation through Christ’s sacrifice. Eventually, the unsaved people will be resurrected to face

the Judgment of Jesus Christ to answer for the things they did with their sinful natures, but until then, the unsaved lay dead in their graves.

Salvation brings Deliverance from Eternal Death (Ephesians 2:1‐3)

The LORD God gives eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord, to ONLY those who seek deliverance from their sinful natures while they are yet alive. The unsaved people with their sinful natures walk according to the course of the world. The “course of the world” encapsulates all of the degrading, grotesque, ugly things that have developed and become perilously established within our world today. They include, but are not limited to, those very things spoken of in 2 Timothy 3:1‐7…

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Salvation brings Deliverance from the Ways of the World

Sexual perversion, the sacrifice of our children, the dirty habits of obscene self‐love and self‐focus are the ways of the world; these are just of a few of the carnal things of sinful nature that entrap the unsaved in these times. The unsaved who are entrapped by their sinful natures, are led by the prince of the power of air who is known by the names Lucifer, Satan, and the Devil. Human beings can be saved from the ways of the world and the sins it nourishes through salvation given by Christ. Unless sinners receive release from original sin, they are destined to enjoy the ungodly things of the world without guilt while removing themselves farther away from God’s presence.

Salvation brings Deliverance from the Wrath of the LORD God

People holding onto their unsaved and sinful natures are children of LORD God’s wrath. In the Last Days, the wrath of God will come upon the earth to judge and punish the unsaved that have taken the mark of the beast (Revelation 16:1, 2).

Salvation brings Deliverance from Lack of Faith and Belief

Salvation can only be received through faith. Faith is the gift of God, through his wonderful and undeserved Grace (Ephesians 2:8, 9). The Unsaved cannot give faith to themselves. If they could, they would boast of their godly ability. Only the LORD God gives those

He Wills the faith to turn toward Him, reject their own sinful natures, and reach toward the righteous and holy nature of God, through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Salvation brings favorable Judgment for Living Works of the LORD God

The unsaved dead will one day stand before the Judgment Seat of the Lord Jesus Christ and be judged according to their works (Revelation 20:11‐15). Those works done by the unsaved are nullified and void. They are vanity. Works are not measured living and righteous when done while the workers had the natures of sin.

If the Unsaved maintained their status in their lifetime to their death, then they have no living works that can be measured. (Revelation 14:13) Those with dead works, those who chose to go to their grave with their sinful nature and reject the Grace of the Lord God and the salvation through Jesus Christ, will be judged guilty and sentenced to eternal damnation and be cast into the lake of fire.

Through the belief and acceptance of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and His Resurrection from the dead, the unsaved can receive salvation and become “saved”. Acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is the only way salvation can come to anyone, free them from their sinful nature, and make them whole (Acts 4:10‐12).

Salvation comes to Believers through the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ

Salvation is a two‐step process. The first step is one of belief, and the second step is one of action. If the Unsaved believe, but do nothing, they remain unsaved. If the Unsaved do not believe, but go through the action of a repentant sinner, they too remain unsaved.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9‐10 KJV)

PERSONAL STEPS TO SALVATION

1. Know that you are a sinner, and cannot save yourself.

2. Confess the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior

3. Believe that Jesus Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient to atone for your sins.

4. Be confident that Jesus Christ physically rose from the dead.

Salvation comes by faith in Jesus Christ

Galatians 2:20 KJV

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 KJV)

The confessor of Jesus Christ as Savior is crucified with him. A Believer is joined to the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ through faith. When Christ is confessed and accepted as a Believer’s Savior, Christ

shares both His crucifixion and Resurrection. This makes the Believer eligible to receive the Baptism of Jesus Christ. However, it is vitally important to note that this Baptism does NOT bring

salvation to the soul; it is only faith in Christ as Savior, developed during a physical lifetime, that offers eternal salvation.

The dead are not given an opportunity to develop faith in Christ after their demise.

THE BAPTISM OF JESUS CHRIST

Romans 6:1‐18 KJV

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the

likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God.

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the

servants of righteousness.” (Romans 6:1‐18 KJV)

Followers of Christ are crucified with his Crucifixion by their faith, and that faith alone, gives promised salvation. (Galatians 2:20)

The Baptism of Jesus Christ allows them to immediately ascend to Heaven upon their physical death. This is called the “First Resurrection.” (Revelation 20:4–5)

If people die without the Baptism of Jesus Christ, but were believers in faith that Christ is their Savior, then they will be resurrected on the great Judgment Day into the Resurrection of Life. (John 5:28–29) Even they only experience one death. Sadly, they cannot go to Heaven immediately because they did not experience death through baptism. They must sleep in their graves in their first death. However, when Christ resurrects them from the grave, faithful believers will ascend to Heaven and join those faithful Baptized Christian that have gathered around His throne.

If people die without the Baptism of Jesus Christ, and did NOT believe in Christ’s salvation, they are resurrected from their grave on the great Judgment Day into the Resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28–29) They, as well as death and Hell, will be cast into the lake of fire. This is called the “second death.” (Revelation 20:11–15)

Those Unbelievers who reject Christ’s salvation in their lifetime, sleep in their graves until Christ raises them to His Judgment Seat to finalize His verdict. (Revelation 20:11–15)

All of the benefits of Salvation are given to a Faithful Believer the moment he accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. (Romans 10:9‐10)

But there is one more step a believer must fulfill to see Heaven immediately upon physical death.

A faithful Christian must also be baptized into the death of Jesus Christ, and be buried with Him also. Faith allows Believers to share His Crucifixion, and their Baptism allows them to experience His Burial and His Resurrection. This death releases the hold of original sin and the devil.

Those experiencing the death of Jesus Christ and His burial through the experience of Baptism, will not die a second death. When Baptized Christians experience physical death, they immediately ascend to Heaven. Those baptized with the Baptism of Jesus Christ go to their ONLY grave within the baptismal waters. When they rise up from their baptismal water graves, they resurrect into the NEW LIFE, with a NEW BIRTH. Baptized Believer’s souls will never go to the grave again! (1 Corinthians 15:54‐57)

CRUCIFIED ONCE, BURIED ONCE AND RESURRECTED ONCE!

Revelation 20:13

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no

more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” (Revelation 21:1‐7 av)

Heaven is a temporary dwelling place, until His chosen Time, when a new Heaven and a New Earth will be established according to His Will.

The unbaptized Believers, who were faithful in the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, but failed to complete the process of going to the grave in Baptism, will go to an earthly grave to sleep for a period (Daniel 12:1‐4).

The Unbaptized but Saved Believers will be resurrected from their graves, in His time, and given Eternal Life through His Grace of Salvation (Revelation 20:13).

Through their belief and confession of Jesus Christ, the UNBAPTIZED, BUT SAVED BELIEVERS will go on to Eternal Life after their resurrection from their graves and their soul journey to Heaven.

Through their belief and confession of Jesus Christ, the BAPTIZED, SAVED BELIEVERS will go to Heaven for a while, and then on to Eternal Life on the New Earth, where all Believers will begin a

new and blessed life under the rule of their King Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

The Baptism of Christ causes death to come one time to a Believer, and Resurrect in Christ’s example, granting eternal life when rising out of the baptismal waters. Those that are already dead are NOT going to be made alive again through the rising out of the Baptismal waters in the likeness of the Resurrection of Christ. They will merely be WET DEAD people, asleep in death until resurrected by Christ on Judgment Day.

The most valid interpretation to Paul’s reference in 1 Corinthians is the understanding that the grace the LORD God gives followers of Christ must come through faith, and faith can only come through a personal response of a living person. Faith cannot be assumed by another in proxy. Baptism of the dead is spoken about by Paul as a persuasive logical argument against the vicarious event conducted by a people who were not upholding the true teachings of Christ. The perspective of Paul attacks and counterattacks this odd belief that subverts the LORD God’s promise of grace, and the Lord Jesus Christ’s Resurrection from the dead.

Footnotes

1 Grant Underwood, “Baptism for the Dead: Comparing Rlds and Lds Perspectives,” Dialogue 23, no. 2 (1990): 99.

2 Donald A. Carson, “Did Paul Baptize for the Dead,” Christianity Today 42, no. 9 (1998): 63.

3 “Jewishgen ‐ an Affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage ‐ a Living Memorial to the Holocaust,” https://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/ldsagree.html.

4 Ibid.

5 Julius R. Mantey, “Baptism in the Dead Sea Manual of Discipline,” Review & Expositor 51, no. 4 (1954): 526.

6 Ibid.

7 Josephus, The Jewish War: Books 1‐7, ed. Jeffrey Henderson et al., trans. H. St. J. Thackeray, vol. 1, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, MA; London; New York: Harvard University Press; William

Heinemann Ltd; G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1927‐1928 ), 369.

8 Mantey, 522.

9 Josephus, 1, 375‐77. Entry into their meetings of community was not granted even after the partaking of the holy water, with candidates requiring a further examination of their temperance. This restriction does not verify it as a baptism for purification and is too scant in its description by Josephus to grasp the meaning of the use of holy waters with its different degrees of sufficiency.

10 Mantey, 523.

11 Ibid.

12 Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins, Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge U.K.: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000), 13‐21.

13 John C. Hutchison, “Was John the Baptist an Essene from Qumran?,” Bibliotheca sacra 159, no. 634 (2002): 191.

14 Donald A. Hagner, Word Biblical Commentary: Matthew 1‐13, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), 46.

15 Fitzmyer, 18.

16 Robert A. Guelich, Mark 1‐8:26, vol. 34A, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1989), 17‐18.

17 Nicholas Taylor, “Baptism for the Dead (1 Cor 15:29)?,” Neotestamentica 36, no. 1‐2 (2002): 111.

18 Ibid., 112.

19 Bernard M. Foschini, “‘Those Who Are Baptized for the Dead’: 1 Cor 15:29,” The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 13, no. 3 (1951): 46.

20 Ambrosiaster, Commentaries on Romans and 1‐2 Corinthians, trans. Ancient Christian Texts Gerald L. Bray (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2009), 196.

21 Carson, 63.

22 βαπτίζομαι (baptizomai), βαπτίζω (baptizō): vb.; ≡ DBLHebr 3188; Str 907; TDNT 1.529

23 Foschini, 47 footnotes: Baronius, Annales Eccl. Ad annum 75 (Romae, 1588), Vol. 1, p. 478. Weiss, O.c., p. 363. Reuss, Les Epitres Pauliniennes, (Paris 1878), p. 263.

24 Bishop Haymo of Halberstadt, “Patrologia Latina (the Latin Patrology),” ed. Migne (1841‐1845), 117598.

25 1 Corinthians: New Testament, vol. IXa, Reformation Commentary on Scripture (IVP Academic, 2017), 377‐79.

26 Tertullian, “Against Marcion,” in The Writings of the Fathers Down to A. D. 325: Ante‐Nicene Fathers, ed. James Donaldson Alexander Roberts, A. Cleveland Coxe (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson

Publishers, 1999), 29 footnote 17b.

27 Ibid.

28 Ovid, “Fasti, Book 2,” https://www.theoi.com/Text/OvidFasti2.html.

29 Joseph S. Exell, Biblical Illustrator, Volume 5 (Colorado: Delmarva Publications, Inc., 2015).

30 Ovid, Lines 19‐26.

31 Ibid., Lines 267‐452.

32 Leonhard Schmiltz, “Lustratio,” John Murray,

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/…/SMIGRA*/Lustratio.html.

33 Ibid.

34 Ovid.

35 Exell.

36 This one of many reports about difficult interpretations of Scripture details seemingly extreme interpretations by legitimate religious domains. Though many might suspect a bias toward traditional Christian churches, that is not the case. I envision fairly documenting the most extreme reactions to faulty interpretation by all belief groups that are the best in example for each report. Unless the reader can understand the extreme adaptations that suspected mistaken interpretation can yield, these different

reports would be uninformative. It seems that the LDS have the extreme modern‐day belief concerning Baptism of the Dead. The next report on one of the difficult Scriptures for interpretation will report on another denomination that wins my attention for possible extreme adaptation.

37 Carson, 63.

38 Rex Eugene Cooper, Promises Made to the Fathers: Mormon Covenant Organization (Salt Lake

City: University of Utah Press, 1980), 108 (Term created by Cooper).

39 Glen M. Leonard, Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, a People of Promise (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret

Book Co./Brigham Young University Press, 2002), 264 (Practice ceased in 1894).

40 Ibid., 264.

41 Gordan Irving, “The Law of Adoption: One Phase of the Development of the Mormon Concept

of Salvation, 1830‐1900,” BYU Studies 14, no. Spring (1974): 294.

42 Simon Baker, Statement, Journal History, Archives, Historical Department (Salt Lake City, UT:

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‐day Saints, 1840).

43 M. Guy Bishop, What Has Become of Our Fathers? Baptism for the Dead at Nauvoo, Dialogue:

A Journal of Mormon Thought (1990), 85‐97.

44 Gary James Bergera, “The Earliest Eternal Sealings for Civilly Married Couples Living and

Dead,” Dialogue 35, no. 3 (2002): 44.

45 The Associated Press, “Mormons Perform Baptisms on Holocaust Victims,” The Associated

Press, https://religionnews.com/2017/12/21/mormons‐perform‐baptisms‐on‐holocaust‐victims/.

46 Ibid.

47 Ibid.

48 “Mormons Agree to No Lds Proxy Baptism of Simon Wiesenthal,” The Christian Century 124,

no. 2 (2007): 14.

49 Ibid.

50 “Mormons Perform Baptisms on Holocaust Victims,”Ibid.

Bibliography

1 Corinthians: New Testament. Reformation Commentary on Scripture. Vol. IXa: IVP Academic, 2017.

Ambrosiaster. Commentaries on Romans and 1‐2 Corinthians. Translated by Ancient Christian Texts Gerald L. Bray. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press,

2009.

Baker, Simon. Statement. Journal History, Archives, Historical Department. Salt Lake City, UT: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‐day Saints, 1840.

Bergera, Gary James. “The Earliest Eternal Sealings for Civilly Married Couples Living and Dead.” Dialogue 35, no. 3 (Fall 2002): 41‐66.

Bishop, M. Guy. What Has Become of Our Fathers? Baptism for the Dead at Nauvoo. Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. 1990.

Carson, Donald A. “Did Paul Baptize for the Dead.” Christianity Today 42, no. 9 (1998): 63‐63.

Cooper, Rex Eugene. Promises Made to the Fathers: Mormon Covenant Organization. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1980.

Exell, Joseph S. Biblical Illustrator, Volume 5. Colorado: Delmarva Publications, Inc., 2015.

Fitzmyer, Joseph A. The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins. Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge U.K.: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000.

Foschini, Bernard M. “‘Those Who Are Baptized for the Dead’: 1 Cor 15:29.” The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 13, no. 3 (1951): 276‐83.

Guelich, Robert A. Mark 1‐8:26. Word Biblical Commentary. Vol. 34A, Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1989.

Hagner, Donald A. Word Biblical Commentary: Matthew 1‐13. Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002.

Halberstadt, Bishop Haymo of. “Patrologia Latina (the Latin Patrology).” edited by Migne, 1841‐1845.

Hutchison, John C. “Was John the Baptist an Essene from Qumran?”. Bibliotheca sacra 159, no. 634 (2002): 187‐200.

Irving, Gordan. “The Law of Adoption: One Phase of the Development of the Mormon Concept of Salvation, 1830‐1900.” BYU Studies 14, no. Spring (1974).

“Jewishgen ‐ an Affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage ‐ a Living Memorial to the Holocaust.”

https://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/ldsagree.html.

Josephus. The Jewish War: Books 1‐7. Translated by H. St. J. Thackeray. Loeb Classical Library. Edited by Jeffrey Henderson et al. Vol. 1, Cambridge, MA; London; New York: Harvard University Press; William Heinemann Ltd; G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1927‐1928

Leonard, Glen M. Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, a People of Promise. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Co./Brigham Young University Press, 2002.

Mantey, Julius R. “Baptism in the Dead Sea Manual of Discipline.” Review & Expositor 51, no. 4 (1954): 522‐27.

“Mormons Agree to No Lds Proxy Baptism of Simon Wiesenthal.” The Christian Century 124, no. 2 (2007): 14‐14.

Ovid. “Fasti, Book 2.” https://www.theoi.com/Text/OvidFasti2.html.

Schmiltz, Leonhard. “Lustratio.” John Murray,

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/…/SMIGRA*/Lustratio.html.

Taylor, Nicholas. “Baptism for the Dead (1 Cor 15:29)?”. Neotestamentica 36, no. 1‐2 (2002): 111‐ 20.

Tertullian. “Against Marcion.” Chap. III. Ethical ‐ V (Tertullian Against Marcion) In The Writings of the Fathers Down to A. D. 325: Ante‐Nicene Fathers, edited by James Donaldson Alexander Roberts, A. Cleveland Coxe. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1999.

The Associated Press. “Mormons Perform Baptisms on Holocaust Victims.” The Associated Press, https://religionnews.com/2017/12/21/mormons‐perform‐baptisms‐on‐holocaust‐victims/.

Underwood, Grant. “Baptism for the Dead: Comparing Rlds and Lds Perspectives.” Dialogue 23, no. 2 (Sum 1990): 99

About the Author

Kathy L. McFarland is a Becker Bible Studies teacher and author of Guided Bible Studies for Hungry Christians, and an academic independent scholar. She has received her Bachelor of Science degree in Religious Studies from Liberty University and the Master of Divinity (Professional Ministries Track) degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary & Graduate School. She is Founder and President of Becker Bible Ministries, Inc., the curriculum developer for Becker Professional Theology Academy, and a teaching faculty member. She also performs duties as Ordination evaluator, and is an endorser for Chaplains at Becker Bible Ministries, Inc.

Kathy’s favorite studies to teach include the connections between Old Testament exegesis, Christian apologetics, and Bible typology and mysteries.