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Bathing vs. Baptism

Baptism is one of the major sacraments of Christianity. It is a Christian initiation—a granting of grace, entrance into the holy arms of the Church and thus one’s salvation. This ritualistic practice has nothing to do with sanctification.

 

However, if you are to believe the church, this was one of the major teachings of Jesus; thus the justification, so-called truth and the reason that it is a major sacrament of Christianity. But is it the truth? Is it fact? Everything that is known, which is not too much (second, third and sometimes forth person or more accounts), leads us to believe that a one time ticket to heaven, granted by an institution, was not his spiritual philosophy. On the contrary, he taught, practiced and believed in practices of sanctification. One of these purification rites that he taught and practiced was called bathing.

 

According to Jewish religious law, if a person was polluted by childbirth, sexual activity or various other sources of contamination, such as contact with the dead, they needed ritualistic cleansing through immersion in water—mikveh:

 

To the ancient Jews, both Essene and non-Essene, the mikveh was a process of spiritual purification and cleansing, especially in relation to the various types of Turmah or ritual defilement when the Temple was in use. We learn from the Clementine Homilees that Peter practiced daily pre-dawn Mikveh immersion. We may infer from this that all Nasorenes, including Yeshu and Maria,[i] also practiced daily purifications.[ii]

 

If you were wealthy enough, you could afford a ‘bathing pool’ within your own home. But for the majority of people, it meant a trip to the local temple to bathe. Of course, a fee was charged every time that you bathed within the confines of the temple or on its holy grounds. 

 

Jesus would have been outraged at these bathing policies, which favored the rich over the poor, and demonstrated the materialistic-greed of the Jewish temple and its priests. Why would any Jew need to pay to be purified; just as why would you need to pay someone else to grant you forgiveness? It was not necessary; in fact, it was corrupt and wrong in the eyes of God. 

 

Jesus must have sought out a means to counter this corruption of the priests and the inequality that it demonstrated between the rich and the poor. He needed to find a way for everyone to purify themselves without having to be rich or to pay money to an earthly human-constructed institution. He discovered his alternative on the banks of the Jordan River in the person of John the Baptist, whose immersion rite “was a silent protest against the urban cadres that controlled Judaism in Jerusalem, as well as a genuinely devoted practice.”[iii]  

 

John took Jesus on as a student, and after a period of time, initiated him into the esoteric teachings and inner wisdom of bathing as well as the Chariot or Throne of God meditation, and many other equally mystical practices. During the act of bathing, John would tell the ones in the water, prior to immersion, to repent and thus release their sins:

 

For John, and in ancient Judaism generally, repentance meant a ‘return’ (shuv in Hebrew, tuv in Aramaic) to God. By repenting, one acknowledged being headed in the wrong direction; by changing course, one was realigned with the divine. Repentance did not emphasize sin or depravity; the notion of original sin as a hopeless condition was a later motif in Christianity, developed by Augustine of Hippo during the fifth century C.E.  John, far from preaching hopelessness, offered in repentance a pragmatic alternative to being estranged from God. In both Hebrew and Greek ‘to sin’ (chata, hamartano) originally meant to miss the mark, as in archery. A rabbi’s teaching showed how one could go right again, and only implied where one had gone wrong.[iv]

 

Jesus was treated no differently than the others who came to John. He embraced the teachings and practices of John while strengthening his spirit and releasing his own anger, guilt and resentment:

 

John demanded repentance from all those who came to be immersed by him, so that Jesus stood on the same ground as everyone else. The hurt inflicted during his childhood, the sense that he was an outcast, in the wrong through no fault of his own, was healed through his repeated immersions. The Jordan’s waters washed away his feeling of estrangement. He repented of the anger he had felt, of his resentment against his own people in Nazareth. He knew he was released from sin in John’s baptism. And, in turn, he was prepared to release the grudges he felt against others. His reward was a place in a group dedicated to a respected religious practice.[v]  

 

Jesus watched and listened to John and eventually learned to conduct the sacred rites of immersion himself. During this period of time a spiritual philosophy developed within him that would stay with him throughout the rest of his life:

 

John’s insistence on the dynamic relationship between repentance and release from sin was the source of Jesus’ emphasis on the same relationship throughout his own ministry. This release from sin, which is translated into English as ‘forgiveness,’ referred to the actual loosing or freeing (aphiemi in Greek, shebaq in Aramaic and Hebrew) of a person from the consequences of his own action by God. Jesus’ conviction that release from sin makes every Israelite pure—and thus acceptable in God’s eyes—is perhaps his most enduring legacy, and it was derived directly from his experience with John the Baptist.[vi]  

 

It seems that Jesus was not only a fast learner but also a dedicated student of John’s. His intense spiritual practice of immersion and Chariot visualizations brought the world of spirit closer and closer to Jesus. The Chariot, as the moving Throne of God, was one of the primary esoteric visualizations within Jewish mysticism. With its wheels of fire rolling through the heavens, accompanied by the sound of mighty waters, the Chariot meditation brought the divineness of creation intimately alive within the body, mind and soul of Jesus.

 

As a devoted student, he bathed and bathed in the Jordan’s ‘living waters,’ that roared with the same sound as the heavenly Chariot. Steadily, he increased his spiritual powers; until one morning while standing waist deep in the chilly stream with the morning star in the East and the first light of dawn breaking through the darkness of the night, he had his vision. As recorded in the Bible, it was the vision of a ‘dove.’ In esoteric teachings the dove not only symbolized the holy spirit of divine love but it also represented Venus, the morning star. The dove or the star descended into him, and for Jesus, this symbolized the divine spirit or the light of divinity within all things. Keep in mind that Jesus, as a student of the original Kabbalah, believed in the sacred knowledge that we all have the ‘holy spark’ of God within.

 

The vision of the morning star was the moment of awakening and enlightenment for Jesus, just as it was for Gautama, the historical Buddha. This awakening and enlightenment for both was not the completion of a path but the beginning of a ‘way’—bringing a message of light to a darkened world.

 

Jesus still progressed on his path, continuing his own ascetic spiritual training and development to the point where he became known as a Chasid—a Jewish shaman, faith healer and sorcerer. During this ‘strengthening of spirit’ period and directly related to his vision and repeated pre-dawn immersion practice as well as his own visionary and prophetic gifts, Jesus came to know, first-hand, within his heart and mind, that all people were already clean or pure with the divine spirit within them:

 

Jesus had been brought by John to see that every Israelite had the means of purity at his disposal, and he came to insist that every Israelite was in fact already pure, embraced by divine Spirit, as he had been.[vii]

 

To Jesus, purity became one of the most important issues in his spiritual mission. But it was not the outward purity that mattered. What was necessary in the eyes of God was one’s inner purity. To Jesus, the brightness and the lightness of a person’s heart were more important than money and one’s social and economic status. Ritual immersions to cleanse away one’s outward pollutions were not only ridiculous but were unnecessary. However, bathing to cleanse one of the inner pollutions of fear, anger and guilt was not only necessary but was also one of the ways to increase God’s Spirit within—a resurrection in life. And, increasing the divinity within each person—could change the world.

 

Jesus was passed on the inner knowledge and mysteries of bathing by John. John also saw the power within Jesus and thus gave him the authority and the power to conduct pre-dawn immersion bathing. Jesus’ bathing of others has always caused a problem for the ‘lie-makers’ of the Church. I must give it to them, however, as they have done a good job of keeping this knowledge twisted and hidden from the metaphoric masses of ‘sheep:’

 

Based on the indications we get from the gospel of John, the baptizing campaign of Jesus and his disciples in the countryside of Judea must have lasted throughout the summer and fall and into the winter of A.D. 27…. That Jesus was baptizing at all was clearly a problem…. He is not administering a “Christian baptism” in the name of the “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” A later editor of John even added a parenthetical qualification: “although it was not Jesus himself who baptized but his disciples” (John 4:2). That type of interpolation is like a red flag telling us that someone is very uncomfortable here, even though the text plainly says that Jesus was baptizing and making disciples! ….

 

…. The shocking truth is that none of the apostles or disciples of Jesus ever had a proper “Christian baptism” as it came to be defined in Christian dogma—that is “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy spirit.”[viii]

 

I do wonder; if Christians knew this knowledge, would they start questioning their own beliefs and the dogma and doctrine of Christianity. Would they question, why the leaders of the Church, do not practice or perform the bathing rites of Jesus? And why Christian baptism is a rite of one-time membership but not a rite of on-going sanctification. Or would they just take the easy path and not do anything to upset the status-quo while thinking: ‘so what… does it really matter.’ And if it doesn’t matter, in our materialistic egotistic culture, why does it matter to me, I ask you….   

 



[i] Jesus and Mary Magdalene

 

[ii] http://essenes.net/Mikveh.htm

 

[iii] Bruce Chilton, Rabbi Jesus, p. 46

 

[iv] Ibid, p. 48

 

[v] Ibid, pp. 48-49

 

[vi] Ibid, pp. 49-50

 

[vii] Ibid, p. 60

 

[viii] James D. Tabor, The Jesus Dynasty, p. 149

 


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