The Spirits in Prison, the Resurrection of Yeshua and Baptism

1 Peter 3:19–22, Spirits. From the context of this passage, these were demonic spirits (Gr. pneuma), not human spirits, since in verse 21 Peter refers to humans by the Greek word psuche­­—in English, souls. Demons are not souls and don’t have souls; rather, the Bible refers to demons as lying, evil or unclean spirits (e.g. 1 Kgs 22:22; 23; Acts 19:15, 16; Luke 4:33; 8:29; 9:42).

Preached to the spirits in prison. Did Yeshua preach to the spirits in prison while he was dead? No. Verse 18 states that Yeshua was put to death, was then quickened or made alive by the Spirit (i.e. was resurrected from the grave), and then, in the spirit, he went to preach to the spirits in prison. Yeshua preached to the angelic spirits who rebelled in Noah’s time after he was resurrected from the dead. In that prison, which Peter refers to as tartaroo (2 Pet 2:4 cp. Jude 6), these evil spirits await Elohim’s final judgment (Jude 6).

Likely, Yeshua went there to inform these evil spirits that despite his resurrections and offering of salvation for human sinners, there is no redemption for them for the evil deeds they committed as recorded in Gen 6:2. Interestingly, the Book of Enoch reveals that these same demons appealed their sentence in times past, but to no avail (1 Enoch 6:4; 13:12–3; 14:4–5).

This passage ends in verse 22 with Yeshua taking his position victoriously at the right hand of Elohim above angels, principalities and powers. In other words, Yeshua has overcome all the evil plans and machinations of Satan and his evil spirits to subvert Elohim’s plan of redemption for man resulting in the glorification of man. By the context of this passage, Peter has Gen 6:2 in view and the sin of the rebellious angels and their attempt to corrupt and to subvert humanity both physically and spiritually. By Yeshua’s resurrection and his victory over sin, death, hell and the grave, he has defeated all the enemy’s plans.

Prison. (Gr. phulake) There are no instances in the Bible of disobedient human souls being placed in an other-worldly prison (Gr. phulake). On the other hand, Satan is bound in a prison (Gr. phulake) for a thousand years during the millennium (Rev 20:7).

1 Peter 3:19, Baptism. This passage is equating baptism with a pledge of loyalty to the risen Savior. In the cosmic struggle between good and evil, between Satan and Elohim as specifically noted in the larger context of this passage as regards the sins of the angelic “sons of Elohim” in Gen 6:2, baptism is the public oath a new believer takes in favor of Elohim and against Satan. This is why the baptism ritual in the early Christian church included a renunciation of Satan (and his minions) and involved literally turning one’s back on the setting sun and facing the rising sun. This wasn’t an act of sun worship, but an acknowledgement of Yeshua, the Creator of the sun who is the Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2) and whose face shines like the sun (Rev 1:16) and who is the spiritual light of the world (John 8:12; 1:1–9), and who came to dispel the spiritual darkness (John 1:1–9) introduced into this world by Satan at the tree of knowledge (Gen 3) and by those angels that rebelled against Elohim and attempted to corrupt humanity both physically and spiritually (Gen 6:1–6; Jude 6; 2 Pet 2:4).


The Biblical Origins of the Baptism Ritual

Acts 2:23, Be baptized. (Also see notes at Matt 28:19.) The term baptism in Hebrew is tevilah meaning “immersion” which occurs at a mikveh meaning “a gathering of waters.” For those coming from a Christian background baptism is something that occurs at the beginning of a believer’s spiritual walk and involves baptism (immersion) in water for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom 6:3–6; 1 Cor 15:29; Gal 3:27; Eph 4:5; Col 2:12; 1 Pet 3:21). Yet the Paul the apostle talks of baptisms (plural) in Heb 6:2. Evidently, in Jewish thought immersion for the remission of sins is but one of many such ritual immersions.

Indeed, in the Testimony of Yeshua we not only read about baptism for the remission of sins, but the baptism of repentance of John the Baptist (Acts 1:5; 10:37; 13:24; 19:4); baptism (immersion) of the Set-Apart Spirit (Luke 3:16; Acts 1:5; 8:16; 11:16); baptism with fire (Matt 3:11; Luke 3:16). Here we see the four types of immersions spoken of in the Testimony of Yeshua.

The concept of ritual immersion for a variety of reasons stems from commands in the Torah relating to ceremonial washings signifying spiritual and physical cleansing (Lev 14:1–4, 7, 9; Exod 19:10; Lev 8:6; 15:5, 8, 10–13, 16–18, 21; 16:4).

Moreover, the prophet Ezekiel speaks of YHVH sprinkling his people to cleanse them from their impurities, which is a picture of the new spiritual life of which immersion is e a type (Ezek 36:25).


“Baptism for the Dead”—Are the Mormons Right or Wrong?

Water Baptizim

1 Corinthians 15:29, Baptized for the dead. For certain, Paul is not talking about proxy baptism for dead people in hopes of saving them spiritually as one modern church incorrectly teaches. If so, this would fly in the face of everything else he taught about the purpose and significance of the baptism ritual. If the dead know nothing, as the Scriptures teach (Eccl 9:5), then how can a dead person consciously identify with the death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua, which is the purpose of baptism?

Verse 29 is an awkward verse, to be sure. When we have such an enigmatic verse, it’s illogical to pull it out of context and make a doctrine out of it as the Mormon church does in baptizing living  people for dead people. Instead, we must interpret this verse in the light of and against the contextual backdrop of other clear passages that relate to the same subject. In the context of 1 Cor 15, Paul is talking about a believer’s hope through Messiah, and how those who don’t have faith in Yeshua have no hope of eternal life. If we die with a faith in Yeshua, we have the hope of being resurrected from the dead as he was. If we die without that hope, then all we have is this physical life and then we die and that’s it. In verse 19 (in the context of the previous verses), Paul mentions the hope that we have in Messiah because of his bodily resurrection.

So now when we come to verse 29 and we read the phrase “baptized for the dead,” it should be a logical conceptual  progression to understand what Paul is talking about. He is saying that because baptism is a picture of death and resurrection, and if we go through that ritual and there is no hope of resurrection for the dead, then what’s the point of it all? Why get baptized if there is no hope and “if the dead do not rise at all” as he says in the latter part of the same verse? To clarify this verse, we could succinctly rewrite it as follows: “Otherwise, what will thy do who are baptized for [the hope of] the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the [hope of the] dead?” This verse has nothing whatsoever to do with getting baptized for your dead relatives. Such an interpretation of verse 29 is a sad twisting of this passage and has caused millions of people to waste a lot of time digging into their family genealogy and then getting “baptized” for all their dead relatives.

Let us recall what Peter said of the writings of Paul, “as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures” (1 Pet 3:16). First Corinthians 15: 29 is another example of the difficult writings of Paul.


How to Overcome Sin!


Dealing With the “Leavening” in Our Lives

Throughout Scripture, leavening is a spiritual metaphor for sin, pride, hypocrisy, malice, bitterness and false religious doctrine (Pss 71:4; 73:21; Hos 7:4; Matt 16:6; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1; 1 Cor 5:8–6; Gal 5:9). Even as a small amount of leavening agents in bread (e.g., yeast and various chemical agents) will quickly permeate bread dough causing it to rise, so a little sin can rapidly infect our lives (or like a quick spread cancer disease) and take us away from Elohim’s path of righteous-living.

The Scripture teaches us to be overcomers (Rom 12:21; 1 John 2:13–14; 5:4) eradicating the leavening of sin from our lives. We must overcome the world, the flesh and the devil (Jas 3:15). Yeshua admonished each of the seven Messianic assemblies to be overcomers (Rev 2:7,11,17,26; 3:5,12,21; see also Matt 24:13). For those who overcome, there will be great rewards—a spiritual inheritance; they will be sons of Elohim (Rev 21:7).

The Greek word for overcome is nikao (Strong’s G3528) meaning “to conquer, to get the Continue reading


New Video: The Blessing of Mikveh—Spiritual Cleansing & Rededication

What is the biblical concept of mikveh or spiritual cleansing, and how can this ritual invigorate you spiritually? How does mikveh relate to the ancient Levitical priesthood and how does it relate to the redeemed believer today? This video answers these questions and more.


How to Conduct a Baptism for the Remission of Sins Ritual

In 1 Peter 3:18–22, we learn that the story of Noah is also a picture of salvation and water baptism. Noah is a prophetic type of Yeshua. Let’s talk a little about baptism for the remission of sins. 

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The Scriptures give us no guidelines how to conduct a baptism service, only that we are commanded to be baptized for the remission of sins. Yeshua instructed his disciples when giving them the great commission to baptize new believers (Matt 28:19–20; Mark 16:16–18).  If you’re a disciple of Yeshua, then you have his authority to baptize someone you have led to Yeshua or have spiritually mentored. As we shall see later, ordained elders are to lay hands on the baptism recipient, anoint them with oil and pray for them to receive the Holy or Set-Apart Spirit (Heb. Ruach HaKodesh).

The following is a suggestion on how to conduct a baptism service:

A Divine Calling — A Divine Choosing

The reason you are being baptized today is not because you chose to do so, but because you are simply responding to a divine call or invitation to follow and serve your Creator — Yehovah Elohim and his Son, Yeshua the Messiah.

[Elohim] hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in the Messiah Yeshua before the world began. (1 Tim 1:9)

That ye would walk worthy of Elohim, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. But we are bound to give thanks alway to Elohim for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because Elohim hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth (1 Thess 2:12–13)

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. (1 Pet 2:9)

Prophecy Is Being Fulfilled

This day, the prophetic word of Elohim is being fulfilled upon your life. You are one of the lost sheep of the house of Israel who is returning to the Elohim and the faith of his ancient fathers.

Thus says YHVH: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.’ Therefore hear, you nations, And know, O congregation, what is among them. Hear, O earth! Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people — the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not heeded My words, Nor My Torah, but rejected it. (Jer 6:16–19).

“Remember the Torah of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of YHVH. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Mal 4:4–6)

Explanation of the Baptism/Immersion Ritual

Immersion in water is an ancient Hebrew custom signifying spiritual or ritual cleansing. It goes back to the Tabernacle of Moses rituals where YHVH required the Levitical priests to Continue reading


The Rite of Baptism Past and Present

Matthew 28:19, Baptizing. Let’s define some terms first. Mikveh (or mikvah) in Hebrew means “a gathering of waters.” Tevilah means “immersion/baptism in water.” So technically, we do tevilah at a mikvah.

Tevilah is an ancient custom that goes back to the levitical priesthood when YHVH required the priests to be cleaned in water (the bronze laver in the tabernacle) before they could even serve him. In fact, when consecrating the priests for service, Elohim instructed Moses to wash the priests (Aaron and his sons) before they could even begin to serve him. In fact, it was the third of seven steps in their consecration process (Exod 29:4). After that, they confessed their sins over a bull which was then sacrificed (Exod 29:10–11, the fifth step), then Moses anointed them with oil (the sixth step, Exod 29:21). These seven steps are a prophetic picture showing how one is “born again,” or spiritually regenerated when one comes into a relationship with Elohim through faith in Yeshua.

Baptism 2

What the priests went through is a picture of what we as believers must go through. This is elucidated in various places in the Testimony of Yeshua.

The Bible contains prophetic shadows of baptism even before the consecrating of the priests. Paul talks about the children of Israel being baptized into Moses when they went through the Red Sea (1 Cor 10:2). In a sense, the whole nation was consecrated to YHVH’s service through faith in the lamb’s blood on the doorposts at Passover, through baptism in the Red Sea so that they could become YHVH’s peculiar treasure, a kingdom of priests and his set-apart nation (Exod 19:5–6). They also washed their garments (another picture of ritual immersion) before coming into the presence of YHVH to receive the 10 Words at Mount Sinai (Exod 19:10). Additionally, throughout the Torah, there are numerous ritual washings for both the priests and the people of Israel associated with various sin-cleansing rites.

Now we come down to John the Baptist who came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the Continue reading