Joseph Smith said:
You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The Savior says, ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’ [John 3:5.]” and “The baptism of water, without the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost attending it, is of no use. They are necessarily and inseparably connected.” (History of the Church, 5:499)
Does baptism by water bring a remission of sins, or baptism by fire? What are some of the scriptural signs of the baptism by fire? Is baptism by water a covenant itself, or a witness of a covenant? In this episode we explore what the scriptures have to say about those and other facets of the two baptisms.
3 Nephi 27:20
D&C 20:37, 41
2 Nephi 31:13-14, 17-18
3 Nephi 7:16, 23, 25
3 Nephi 20:2
3 Nephi 12:1-2
2 Nephi 9:41
D&C 84:64, 74
I don’t understand why you believe that the Baptism of Fire can only occur when the Melchizedek Priesthood (in its fullness) is on the earth? Could you please explain your scriptural references for that understanding?
Also at Christ’s Baptism I think it worth note, in regard to your comment on a Spiritual manifestation of the event, the Holy Spirit descending as a dove, and Father’s approval declared in, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Christ who was perfect, did not need the baptism of fire, or remission of sin, but the events of a complete baptism were displayed. Baptism by water, baptism by the blood (through Christ’s atonement) washing our garments clean, represented by the Holy Spirit, and the physical manifestation of Father’s approval or acknowledgement. As Christ was the example, I think this relates to a complete experience for us.
I wouldn’t say the baptism of fire can only happen by the laying on of hands by one with the Melchizedek Priesthood – the examples of Cornelius and the 300 Lamanites show that God can give the gift whenever he wants without the laying on of hands. But the scriptures seem to indicate that the standard method is by laying on of hands by one with authority: Acts 8:17-19, Acts 19:6, 3 Nephi 18:37, Moroni 2:2. In our times, D&C 53:5, 55:1, 39:23, 33:15, and 49:14 are some examples.
Although Christ did not sin, the fact that the Holy Ghost did fall upon him after his baptism does seem to indicate that he did not have a fullness of the Holy Ghost until after his baptism by water and baptism by fire. (D&C 93:12) But I agree that Christ did show us the way (D&C 93:20).
Thanks for another great podcast guys. I haven’t been to church for years, so it’s nice to have something for my Monday drive that beats church any day. Because it is hard to go alone on your spiritual journey without others to really talk to. Anyways you left out my favorite summary of baptism, which I would argue is actually three parts, and includes the reception of the High Priesthood.
53 And our father Adam spake unto the Lord, and said: Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water? And the Lord said unto Adam: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden.
54 Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world.
55 And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying: Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.
56 And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves, and I have given unto you another law and commandment.
57 Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.
58 Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying:
59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;
60 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;
61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.
62 And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.
63 And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me.
64 And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.
65 And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.
66 And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever;
67 And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity.
68 Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen.
So father Adam actually got a three part baptism which includes the receiving of the high priesthood. First you receive water baptism to fulfill the commandment given to us by Christ. The reception of the spirit aka the baptism of fire and the holy ghost lets us know that we are justified because it dwells within us. And finally it is ultimately the blood of Christ which sanctifies us and allows us to become a son of God and reenter his kingdom by receiving the High Priesthood by God’s own voice out of the heavens.
You can compare this to D&C 76:51-58 where it says that:
51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—
52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;
53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.
54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.
55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—
56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;
57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.
58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God.
So according to the revelations that Joseph brought forth, there is actually a three part baptism which includes the reception of the High Priesthood which is necessary to enter the Celestial Kingdom and obtain all that the Father hath. Like you guys said the gospel is quite elegant in its simplicity and yet deep as well. All we do is follow Christ into the water and we become reborn into the kingdom through the spirit/fire and the blood of Christ, and then receive the High Priesthood to become his son/daughter. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait much longer for that opportunity.
Thank you for bringing up the deeper interpretation of the three part baptism. That also occurred to me as I listened to the podcast. Here is a snippet from a blog post I wrote years ago in which I noted that Joseph Smith also appears to interpret WATER, FIRE, AND HOLY GHOST as a three part baptism:
Joseph Smith said-
Thanks for sharing your observations Paul. And another great podcast Searcher and MD. Very thought provoking as usual.
BTW Searcher and MD, if the modern church can collect tithing based on gross income instead of net income to build their kingdom, I should be able to do the same. I suspect the listeners of this podcast would agree.
Appreciate the scripture lists in your notes!
There is a process in conversion and receiving the Holy Ghost, no doubt! But we tend to have the process backwards, as most of us believe we have already received the Holy Ghost, by virtue of our membership in the Church. However, the actual process most of us are in, is the beginning process of fully submitting to the Lord with broken hearts and contrite spirits. Once our sacrifice is acceptable, once our hearts are truly on the altar, and once we have truly become as little children before the Lord, then we will be converted and healed. We will receive the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, as has been promised. This is when we become sons and daughters of Christ. “And thus may ALL become my sons!” as we are told in Moses chapter 6…. Make no mistake, the scriptures clearly describe that this event (and it is an event) occurs when we have gone through the process (and this is a process) of truly submitting to the Lord as little children. And then after the event, a new process towards sanctification and becoming “pure, even as he is pure” begins, as we follow the Iron Rod of his word, which are now emanating from our hearts and minds. I believe with all of my heart that this is the path all true disciples of Jesus Christ must walk!
Here’s a scripture that supports D&C 20:37.
3 Ne. 7:25
25Therefore, there were ordained of Nephi, men unto this ministry, that all such as should come unto them should be baptized with water, and this as a witness and a testimony before God, and unto the people, that they had repented and received a remission of their sins.
One other thing about the power of this water baptism that Jospeh and Oliver revived, not having the gift of the Holy Ghost given yet.
Joseph Smith History 1:73-74
73Immediately on our coming up out of the water after we had been baptized, we experienced great and glorious blessings from our Heavenly Father. No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery, than the Holy Ghost fell upon him, and he stood up and prophesied many things which should shortly come to pass. And again, so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy, when, standing up, I prophesied concerning the rise of this Church, and many other things connected with the Church, and this generation of the children of men. We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our salvation.
74Our minds being now enlightened, we began to have the scriptures laid open to our understandings, and the true meaning and intention of their more mysterious passages revealed unto us in a manner which we never could attain to previously, nor ever before had thought of.