Tag Archives: water
William Andrew Dillard
BAPTISM AND THE NOAHIC FLOOD
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” I Peter 3:18-21
From earliest Sunday School Days, most Christians are enthralled with the story of Noah and the Flood. But, its implications extend to the church age with underscored import to modern day saints. Some attempt to deny the denotations and connotations of the verses of scripture at hand; others do their best to explain them away as meaningless. Still others make them to mean much more than they are intended to mean. So what might one rightly infer from them? Noah was a righteous man. Accordingly, he and his family found grace in the eyes of the Lord. He was blessed to build the Ark., and he is listed as one of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. When the sloosh ways of heaven were opened, the fountains of the deep surfaced, and rains came for forty days and nights, water bore up the Ark to the saving of their lives. However, the same water that bore up the Ark to the saving of their lives also caused the death of all others who drew the breath of life.
Now consider the parallel. Let it be understood that there is only ONE THING in the entire universe that is purgatory of sin: the blood of the Son of God. Yet, many of the people who drown in the flood were spiritually saved, but disobedient people. So it is the obedience of life that is under consideration in the figure. It is through obedience that a good consciousness toward God is created. Baptism is the first step of obedience for every saved person. Additionally, it is in that good consciousness toward God that His will is advanced in and through men. The obedience in water baptism brings a good conscience toward God, but the same water refused leaves one devoid of that good conscience. The difference is symbolized as gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble at the fiery Judgment Seat of Christ as shown in I Corinthians 3:9-15. So, it may be spoken of as the saving of one’s life to the glory of God, and to one’s personal reward. Therein is the figure spoken of in the verses under consideration.
Remember this the next time you hear some immature Baptist say, “Baptism is not important.” It is important, so much so that it is likened unto the difference between those in the Ark and those outside it.
LORD That Healeth [Jehovah-Rapha]
After the Exodus and Red Sea crossing, the Israelites found themselves in the wilderness of Shur, where there was no water. When they finally did find water in Marah, it was too bitter to drink. After sweetening the water, God said, “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee” (Exo_15:26).
The verb healeth is rāpa‘ (H7495), which appears more than sixty times and means not only “to heal and restore health,” but “to make fresh, usable, and fertile.” Lepers, for example, were sometimes healed (Lev_14:3; Lev_14:48), while Abimelech, his wife, and his maidservants were restored to fertility (Gen_20:17). In that great messianic chapter in Isaiah, we read of the spiritual healing He will bring: “With his stripes we are healed” (Isa_53:5).
We cannot help but think here of 2Ch_7:14 : “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal [Rāpa‘] their land.” While dispensationally speaking this is a promise given specifically to Israel, practically speaking what would such repentance do for our troubled nation today? After all, Jer_51:8-9 declares that even foreign cities and powers can know God’s healing if they repent. How much healing would result if we called upon God, stopped our worship of self, put prayer back in our schools and God’s commandments back in the courtroom, and turned from our unconscionable sin, such as the murder of the unborn?
It is significant that the Septuagint often translates Rāpa‘ with the Greek iaomai (G2390, “to cure, restore”). Peter uses this, in fact, in his partial quotation of Isa_53:5 in 1Pe_2:24. Further, we must “confess [our] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that [we] may be healed” (Jas_5:16) both physically and spiritually. Further still, “The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered [i.e., dismayed sighs that cannot be expressed in words]” (Rom_8:26).
Scriptures for Study: Who is being healed in Isa_19:22; Isa_57:18?
I will address the issue of Nicodemus again. In John 3:1-8; Nicodemus came to Jesus and made a statement that Jesus had come from God. The reply of Jesus is very important to every man – ye must be born again. Nicodemus did not understand and questioned Jesus about Nicodemus mother, physical being able to do this. Here is where many start going wrong in this passage. Jesus speaks spiritual things and Nicodemus is speaking physical things. Jesus said one must be born of water and of the Spirit. Don’t go wrong here now. Jesus addresses Nicodemus physical application and extends the spiritual application. Born of water is the physical birth that each of us experienced when we were ushered into this sin decayed world. In the womb we lived in a sack of water. Yes! I know it was not literal water, okay? We always say “her water broke.”
Now Jesus points Nicodemus to the Spiritual New Birth. Notice verse 6 – that which is born of the flesh is flesh. The physical birth that Nicodemus spoke of. “that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit,” the Spiritual birth that Jesus was referring to. Keeping everything in context and reading the context helps us to not make a false interpretation of God’s Word.