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Is sprinkling a biblical mode of baptism?

Sprinkling of water or aspersian, is used as an alternate mode of baptism. This act is also performed as a reminder for people of their baptism, such as the renewal of baptismal vows performed by the Roman Catholic Church on Easter. “The church (Roman Catholic) at one time practiced immersion. This was up to the thirteenth century. The Council of Ravenna, in 1311, changed the form from immersion to pouring.” (Our Faith and the Facts, p. 399). Many other religions have adopted this mode of baptism, especially for infants. Is sprinkling the biblical mode of baptism?

Based on the bible, How many modes of baptism are there?
“One Lord, one faith, one baptism” Ephesians 4:5

Is Sprinkling a biblical method for baptism?
“Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will i cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:25-26

Note: There is a popular belief that these verses prefigure the introduction of sprinkling for baptism. As we study, we will learn the truth to this question.

Why were people sprinkled in the bible?
“And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purifying upon them, and let them shave all their flesh, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean.” Numbers 8:7

Answer: This was done as a means of cleansing, and purification in order to set the Levites apart for priesthood.

What else was used in connection with sprinkling for purification?
“And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel: 18 And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave” Numbers 19:17-18

Answer: Certain unclean people needed both, the ashes of a burnt heifer and the sprinkling of water.

What example can we find of an unclean person?
“Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him.” Numbers 19:13

Was Sprinkling done away with under the new covenant?
“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? ” Hebrews 9:12-14

Answer: Christ came an offered himself; His blood, that no more would we have to sacrifice animals, uses ashes of an heifer or sprinkle the unclean. This is no scriptural connection between the ceremonial sprinkling and the new testament baptism.

How is the true baptism then described in the bible?
“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. ” Romans 6:4-6

Answer: Baptism represents us dying to self and being raised to newness of life. It is described as being buried and resurrected.

What example did Christ leave for us?
“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him” Matthew 3:16

Note: Christ was baptized in the Jordan river, in which it says that “when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water” imply that he must have been under the water to come straightway out of the water. This without a doubt was a scene of Christ being immersed in the water.

Death- Crucifying or dying to self
Burial- Being plunged under the water
Resurrection- coming up out of the
water into newness of life

What is the meaning of the word “baptize” in its original language?

baptizō
bap-tid’-zo: “to dip”, to make whelmed (that is, fully wet);

We see here that baptism is an act of complete immersion, which sprinkling or pouring water on the head does not fit in this description. Much evidence is given, that we may without a doubt, know what the Lord requires of us. Christ wants us to partake in his death and resurrection; have we crucified self through baptism? The Lord is seeking to give us a new life, a fresh start; shall we give our life to him today?

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