Yeshua’s Immersion
(To Fulfill All Righteousness)

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Yeshua’s Immersion
(“To Fulfill All Righteousness”)

Matt. 3: 13Then Yeshua came from the Galil to the Yardan to Yochanan, to be immersed by him. 14But Yochanan would have hindered Him, saying, “I need to be immersed by You, and You come to me?”

15But Yeshua answered him, “Allow it now, for this is the fitting way for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. 16Yeshua, when He was immersed, went up directly from the water, and — imagine it! — the heavens were opened to Him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on Him. 17Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased.”

Mark 1: 9At that time Yeshua came from Natzeret in the Galil, and was immersed by Yochanan in the Yardan. 10Immediately as He was coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting, and the Ruach descending upon Him in the form of a dove. 11A voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.”

Luke 3: 21Now it happened, when all the people were immersed, Yeshua also had been immersed, and was praying. The sky was opened, 22and Ruach HaKodesh descended in a bodily form as a dove on Him; and a voice came out of heaven, saying “You are My beloved Son. In You I am well pleased.” 23Yeshua himself, when he began to teach, was about thirty years old, ...

John 1: 29The next day, he saw Yeshua coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for he was before me.’ 31I didn’t know him, but for this reason I came immersing in water: that he would be revealed to Israel.” 32Yochanan testified, “I have seen the Spirit descending like a dove out of heaven, and it remained on him. 33I didn’t recognize Him, but He Who sent me to immerse in water, He said to me, ‘On Whomever you will see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He Who immerses in Ruach HaKodesh.’ 34I have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

First, we need a brief look at what Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptizer) was actually doing at and near the Jordan River.

What Yochanan was doing was not “Christian baptism” at all; it was Jewish tevilah, washing by immersion. In tevilah, each person totally immerses him/herself in “living water” and the priest or rabbi witnesses or supervises, not performs, the process.

Tevilah was extremely common in first-century Israel, and nobody who read the Gospel accounts of Yochanan’s activity or of Yeshua’s experience at that time would have considered it anything else. Every person who went to the Temple immersed him/herself first. Priests and Levites immersed themselves at their ordination, each day before they began their Temple service, and frequently several additional times during the day. Women immersed themselves after every menstrual cycle and after giving birth, Anyone who was healed of any disease immersed him/herself. Immersion was required after having come into contact with any person or thing that could render them ceremonially or ritually “unclean.”

Those whom Yochanan was “immersing” (that is, supervising their self-immersion) had become ritually “unclean” because they had walked away from their obedience to Torah. (Torah defines “sin” as any disobedience to, or violation of, Torah.) His message called for people to “repent.” The Hebrew word for repentance is hbwX teshuvah, to turn away from or return to someone or something. Yochanan’s message was for people to turn away from disobedience to Torah and return to obedience, and God would grant them forgiveness of their sins. After they had received that forgiveness, they immersed themselves to ritually “cleanse” themselves from the “unclean” state of sinfulness.

The Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) provide us with a number of important details that John apparently glosses over:

  1. Yeshua was “about thirty years old.” 
  2. He immersed Himself in water. 
  3. Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) came upon Him in the form of a dove. 
  4. God’s voice from heaven approved. 
  5. It was “necessary to fulfill all righteousness.” 

We can discern from the genealogies that Ruach HaKodesh included in the Gospel narratives that Yeshua was from the tribe of Y'hudah (Judah), not of Levi. He was not qualified to be a Levitical priest. The priesthood was Levi’s eternal possession. The ”throne of David” — kingship over Israel — however, was the eternal possession God gave to Y'hudah.

Yochanan the Immerser’s father, Z'kharyah, was a priest in the Aviyah division (Luke 1:5), and his mother Elisheva was also a descendant of Levi. So Yochanan was well-qualified to be a priest. However, because the angel Gavri'el had imposed upon Yochanan the status of a Nazirite before his birth (Luke1:15), he could not serve in the Temple. Nazirites were forbidden to drink wine (a symbol of joy) or any other grape product, and priests in Temple service were required to drink wine as part of various rituals.

The Romans and the Sadducees had totally corrupted the priesthood, and the Governor sold the High Priest’s office to the highest bidder each year. But I believe that according to God’s calculations, Yochanan was the legitimate High Priest.

God had declared through the prophet David (Psalm 110:4) that the Messiah was to be “a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek,” not of the order of Levi.

In order to enter the priesthood, a man had to be thirty years old, had to be immersed in living water, and then had to be anointed with oil (a symbol of  Ruach HaKodesh). Kings also had to be anointed — by the High Priest.

So here is how Yeshua’s self-immersion under Yochanan’s supervision was necessary to “fulfill all righteousness” — that is, to fulfill the requirements of Torah.

Yeshua was thirty years old, entering into His service in the Priesthood of Melchizedek. He was also the rightful King of Israel (as a direct descendant of David, it was His birthright, but Rome had corrupted the throne of Israel as well as the priesthood.) He immersed Himself in living water, and was anointed by Ruach HaKodesh directly, not through just the symbolic oil, and the Voice of God announced His approval. This all occurred under the supervision of the rightful High Priest, Yochanan. Yeshua had become Priest and King in exactly the manner prescribed by Torah!

Righteousness had been fulfilled!

Page last updated on Saturday, 27 August 2016 04:32 PM
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