BIBLICAL EVENTS WHICH PREFIGURE
BAPTISM BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
"Christ himself died once and for all for sins, the upright for the sake of the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life, and, in the spirit, he went to preach to the spirits in prison. They refused to believer long ago, while God patiently waited to receive them, in Noah's time when the ark was being built. In it only a few, that is eight souls, were saved through water. It is the baptism corresponding to this water which saves you now..." 1 Peter 3:18-21
Biblical events that prefigured Christian baptism in Christ:
|Genesis 1:1-2||1. Creation: when the Holy Sprit brought life and order to the waters of chaos|
1 Peter 3:20-21
|2. Noah and his family were saved from the waters of the flood that cleansed the earth of sin, which St. Peter tells us prefigures our baptism in 1 Peter 3: 20-21.|
1 Corinthians 10:1-2
|3. The children of Israel, fleeing from the Egyptians, passed through the waters of the Red Sea-passing from the old life of slavery into their new life as God's Covenant people; which St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 is a form of baptism.|
|4. The water purification rites of the Old Covenant:
-When the priests cleansed themselves with the water from the laver so that they were ritually cleansed and able to enter the Holy Place of the desert Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem.
-The ritual purification for coming in contact with the dead.
|2 Kings 5:1-19||5. When the prophet Elisha told the Syrian general Naaman to dip himself 7 times in the waters of the Jordan River to be healed.|
|Ezekiel 36:24-27||6. Ezekiel's prophecy that Yahweh will pour clean water over His people and they will be cleansed and filled with a new heart and a new spirit when God places His very spirit within them.|
|Joshua 3:14-17||7. The crossing of the Jordan River when God parted the waters and the priests stood midway across the River with the Ark of the Covenant as the children of Israel passed through the waters of the Jordan, leaving their old lives behind to become citizens of the Promised Land.|
|Matthew 3:4-5; Mark 1:4-5; Luke 3:3-4; John 1:31||8. The baptism of John the Baptist which called the faithful of Israel into the baptismal waters of repentance in preparation for the coming of the Messiah's ministry proclaiming the Kingdom of God.|
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The first catechism of the Church, known as the Didache, or "The Teaching", written not later than AD 120 records: Regarding baptism. Baptize as follows: after first explaining all these points, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, in running water. But if you have no running water, baptize in other water; and if you cannot in cold, then in warm. But if you have neither, pour water on the head three times in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Before the baptism, let the baptizer and the candidate for baptism fast, as well as any others that are able. Require the candidate to fast one or two days previously." [ Didache, 7. 1-4 ].
Please notice that nowhere in these instructions is it permitted to baptize without water! Jesus taught that no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born through "water and the Spirit." In Titus 3:4-8 St. Paul instructs St. Titus: "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior for humanity were revealed, it was not because of any upright actions we had done ourselves; it was for no reason except his own faithful love that he saved us, by means of the cleansing water of rebirth and renewal in the Holy Spirit which he has so generously poured over us through Jesus Christ our Savior; so that, justified by his grace, we should become heirs in hope of eternal life. This is doctrine that you can rely on." Paul's statement reaffirms Jesus' instruction to Nicodemus in John 3:3-3-6: "In all truth [amen, amen] I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above. [...] In all truth [amen, amen] I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born through water and the Spirit; what is born of human nature is human, what is born of the Spirit is spirit."
A profession of faith does not replace water baptism as the spiritual rebirth into the family of God [see John 3:5 and for more information see the study on the Gospel of St. John chapter 3]. Faith is the first step in the process of salvation and baptism is the second step in what is a life long journey toward eternal salvation.
The necessity of water in the Sacrament of Baptism: CCC # 694; 1213-17; 1228; 1238-39; Infant baptism: CCC # 1252