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The Cessation of Baptism & the Lord's Supper

by Donald Hochner

I will try my best to make a summary about the cessation of the baptism and the Lord's Supper from MY understanding. You'll have to examining the Scriptures to see whether these things were so like the Bereans did.

The reason why the churches today and the past history have been praciticing these things is because they did not understand the significant event in AD 70 and still believe the parousia of Christ which is yet in the future.

First, we'll focus on the baptism.

We have seen the baptism first appeared in the NT was John the Baptist. Where did he get the idea about the baptism? Was it a new idea? Remember that the baptism occurred before the Messiah came and died on the cross. Also the Judeans (Jews) did not questioning John the Baptist about the baptism itself but asking him by what authority he was performing (John 1:19-34). Of course, John the Baptist sent by God (Luke 20:1-8).

What is the purpose of the baptism? I believe this has to do with purification before eschatological meeting with God along with ecclesiology. Why wasn't it explained in greater detail in the NT? Maybe it is because they already knew what it was and didn't need an explaination. For Biblical evidence that John's baptism was considered to be one of the Judeans "purification." (John 3:23-26).

We need first look into the background in the OT. After Israel left from Egypt and they were preparing to receive the promised land and to meet the Lord. God told Moses in Exodus

19:4 Ye -- ye have seen that which I have done to the Egyptians, and I bear you on eagles' wings, and bring you in unto Myself.

19:5 `And now, **IF** ye really hearken to My voice, then ye have kept My covenant, and been to Me a peculiar treasure more than all the peoples, for all the earth [is] Mine;

19:6 and ye -- ye are to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation: these [are] the words which thou dost speak unto the sons of Israel.'

Notice in verse 5, it is conditional.

Then God told Moses to have His people to set themselves apart and washing (Ex. 19:10-11, 14-15. But what happened next? The people of Israel were afraid to meet the Lord. Now, after that, God was making the covenant with His people. What happened to the people of Israel while they were waiting for Moses after 40 days and nights? The Lord was anger and ready to destroyed them but Moses prevented it. Eventually, God made the promise He will make a new covenant, unlike the old covenant which they broke (Jer. 31:31-34; c.f Heb. 8:7-13; Ezek. 36:24-30).

Now, we go back into NT. What was John the Baptist is preaching about? "The kingdom of God is at hand", preparing the Judeans to meet the Lord so they were purifying themselves to fulfill the righteousness. The baptism itself was the symbol of cleaning the sins. I would suggest you to read Matt. 3:1-12 and Luke 3:1-18 very carefully. Notice in Matt. 3:7 that John the Baptist warned to the Pharisees and Sadducees to flee the coming wrath and the Lord will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire which already occurred in AD 70.

As we go along with these passages, notice John asked Jesus that he should be baptized by Him. But Jesus permitted him "at this time: for in this way it is fitting for us to**FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS**". You see, Jesus came to fulfill all righteousness under the old covenant which we cannot fulfill completely. This which lead us into Matt. 5:17-18:

5:17 `Do not suppose that I came to throw down the law or the prophets -- I did not come to throw down, but to fulfill;

5:18 for, verily I say to you, till that the heaven and the earth may pass away, one iota or one tittle may not pass away from the law, till that all may come to pass.

This is very important passage lest we miss this. Notice that Jesus came to fulfill the law or the prophets. We could agree with this. We may also agree that the old covenant law is passed away but what about the heaven and earth? Was Jesus speaking of the literal heaven and earth? If so, we should abide all of the old covenant system (circumision, sacrifices, civil laws, temple, etc.) until the literal heaven and earth pass away. We would have been guilty for not doing these things. Therefore, the heaven and earth whom Jesus was speaking is the old covenant. I hope you've read the other post I sent about the new heaven and earth.

Read Hebrews:

6:1 Wherefore, having left the word of the beginning of the Christ, unto the perfection we may advance, not again a foundation laying of reformation from dead works, and of faith on God,

6:2 of the teaching of baptisms, of laying on also of hands, of rising again also of the dead, and of judgment age-during,

6:3 and this we will do, if God may permit

The writer of Hebrews was saying that they (the first century "Jewish" audience) need to leave the basic teaching of the Old Covenant system behind and not to return into the "dead" works. The Old Covenant was the type of the New Covenant. Read a few verses back:

5:11 concerning whom we have much discourse and of hard explanation to say, since ye have become dull of hearing,

5:12 for even owing to be teachers, because of the time, again ye have need that one teach you what [are] the elements (Greek: Stoicheia = Gal. 4:3, 9; Col. 2:8, 20-22; 2 Peter 3:10-13) of the beginning of the oracles of God, and ye have become having need of milk, and not of strong food,

5:13 for every one who is partaking of milk [is] unskilled in the word of righteousness -- for he is an infant,

5:14 and of perfect men is the strong food, who because of the use are having the senses exercised, unto the discernment both of good and of evil.

Seems to me that the writer was trying to tell the people of Israel that they need a basic concept or milk of the old covenant in order to understand the meaning of the new covenant. In other words, we cannot understand the New Testament if God has not revealed to us in the Old Testament. That is why Jesus told Nicodemus:

"if the earthly things I said to you, and ye do not believe, how, if I shall say to you the heavenly things, will ye believe? (John 3:12)

Let's continue to read in Hebrews:

9:9 which [is] a simile in regard to the present time, in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered, which are not able, in regard to conscience, to make perfect him who is serving,

9:10 only in victuals, and drinks, and different baptisms, and fleshly ordinances -- till the time of reformation imposed upon [them].

I believe that baptisms were done away at the time of reformation (AD 70) after the destruction of Jerusalem. Remember that the Christians were baptized during the transition period before the kingdom of God fully established at AD 70 and all of their sins were washed and removed. They finally meet God as well for us. God is now dwell in us and we are in His presence through His Son. The wedding has been consummated which lead us into the Lord's Supper. See the next post.

Oh, one more thing. We know that many Christians have been using the Great Commission in Matt. 28:18-20. But you cannot neglect the parallel passage in Mark 16:15-18. I believe these passages were fulfilled by AD 70:

1. Make disciples of all nations have been accomplished.

2. Baptizing them have been done.

3. The end of the Mosaic or the Old Covenant age.

4. Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation have been accomplished.

5. The signs were done away.

6. Cast out demons were done away.

7. Speak in tongues were done away.

8. Pick up serperts were done away.

9. Drink deadly posion that were not hurt them were done away.

10. Lay on hands on the sick were done away.

You see, all of these things on the list above were done only during the transition period. On the other hand, we can still apply #1 and #4 for today but notice #1 and #4 have been accomplished by AD 70. Does that make sense to you?

Now about the Lord's Supper.

Jesus and His disciples were observing the Passover feast. We may agree with this. Jesus explained to them that the bread which represent His body. The bread itself is unleavened which means no yeast or influence of sins in Him. His body was given for us because He is without sin. The wine represent His blood which is shed for us, the forgiveness of sins. Jesus was giving the concept to His disciples what the bread and the wine mean and told them to remember of Him and to proclaim His death until He comes. Jesus commanded them to do this until He comes. Remember when Jesus went up to heaven, He was preparing a place for the bride. When He came, He brought us into the presence of God that pre-AD 70 saints do not have. After AD 70, no more death (spiritual separation) and Hades (no longer end up there in grave after physical death). The "Lord's Supper" is another words for reminding the saints during the transition period (30-70 AD), just like the loved one gone for a while but keep looking at the picture. When the loved one came back, we no longer need to look into the picture. Just study in Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:13-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26.

Let me emphasis once more. Notice Jesus told His disciples, "I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffered; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God...for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes" (Luke 22:15, 16, 18). Or He said, "Truly I say to you, I shall never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it **NEW**in the kingdom of God" (Mark 14:25). But He commanded them to do it until He comes. Now as for the preterist, we are spiritually eat and drink with Him in His kingdom without any physical substances. The principle is the same but without substances. We should worship God with spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). You see, Jesus was celebrating the passover with His disciples but He told them He would not eat the physical passover from now on until He comes. When He returned in AD 70, He eat and drink with us a NEW way which is spiritual. It would not make any sense if we eat and drink with Him in physical way. If so, He should eat and drink physically with us here on earth, would He?

Hope this helped.

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