The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 17 : JESUS CHRIST and JOHN THE BAPTIST

[17-11] (Mark 1:1-5) “Behold, I Send My Messenger”

(Mark 1:1-5)
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophets:
‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’
The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make His paths straight.’
John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.”
 
 
Do You Know John the Baptist Whom God Sent?
 
In the wilderness, John the Baptist was proclaiming the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Not only that, he was the person who would perform the baptism of Jesus which would transfer to Jesus the sins of all the people in the world. Since John the Baptist was the last prophet in Old Testament times and a person born in the house of the High Priest, he was the servant of God who would transfer all mankind’s sins to Jesus through baptism according to the will of God.
At the time John the Baptist was born on this earth, the people of Israel were full of idol worship. After they were full of sin by the worship of idols, pain came, and they began waiting for the promised Savior to save them from their pain. As they hoped, God the Father sent John the Baptist and His Son, Jesus Christ, to this earth. God the Father sent John the Baptist six months before He sent Jesus Christ to this earth in order to rescue all sinners from their sins. John the Baptist was “the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” He was the “spiritual Elijah” who was promised in the Old Testament.
Therefore, we all must become people who learn and believe in the will of God that was worked through John the Baptist. The Bible says that John the Baptist was sent six months before Jesus came to this earth. God had a profound meaning in sending John the Baptist before Jesus. Accordingly, we must think a little more in detail, know, and believe in the work of John the Baptist.
God sent His needed servants in each generation and guided His people on the path of righteousness. He did not send His prophets like this for 400 years before He sent John the Baptist. Therefore, the people of Israel were earnestly waiting for the appearance of God’s servant who would spread the true Word of God. They had lived for a long time not able to listen to the Word preached by God’s servants. The people of Israel were weary because of the absence of God’s servants who would lead them correctly through God’s will and His Word. They had come to the point where they absolutely needed a sincere servant sent by God. John the Baptist was the person sent by God at that time to the people of Israel. Six months after God the Father sent John the Baptist, He sent His Son, Jesus, to this world.
Then, Jesus Christ was sent to this earth by the will of God the Father. He was the Son of God, our God, and was the absolute and complete Savior of sinners. He was never a creation like us. Jesus Christ was actually God Himself, and He was God the Father’s faithful only begotten Son who lowered Himself. Jesus Christ, who came to the people of Israel, was the Accomplisher of Salvation and saved all of mankind from the sins of the world. He was the King who had the great will to fulfill God the Father’s plan and came to this earth in the lowest form.
As a person crying the will of God in the wilderness, John the Baptist was a servant of God who, when the time came to fulfill the will of God the Father, had only to give the baptism that transferred all the sins of this world to Jesus. Before he did that righteous work, he had to live by eating locusts and wild honey in the wilderness. As soon as the people of Israel who had served various idols for several hundreds of years came to hear the will and Word of God through John the Baptist, they began to give ear to the Word of God. So, many of the people of Israel were awakened to their sins and began yearning to return to Jehovah. Thus, they were preparing to receive Jesus who would cleanse the sins of mankind at once.
It is written, “Among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11). He was the last prophet of the Old Testament who represented all mankind. He was the person who was capable of doing the duties of the last High Priest on this earth. He was the person who would transfer all the sins of this world through the baptism he would give to Jesus.
On the other hand, Jesus, who received all the sins of this world once for all, was originally the Son of God and was the sacrificial Lamb that God prepared who came to take all the sins of this world once and for all (John 1:29). Jesus became the true Mediator between man and God. Since John the Baptist was the one who witnessed this, the Lord pointed to him and said, “He is Elijah who is to come” (Matthew 11:14). John the Baptist, the servant of God, was the person who testified that Jesus was the Lamb of God who had come to take charge of the sins of the world (John 1:29).
 
  
John the Baptist Comes to You in the Providence of God’s Salvation
 
John the Baptist’s birth and his family background are explained well in Luke 1. If we look at the birth of John the Baptist through the recorded Word of God, we get to know that John the Baptist was born in the special work of the providence of God’s salvation.
We know first that John the Baptist’s family was born into the family of the High Priests of the Old Testament (1 Chronicles 24:1-19). John the Baptist’s father, Zacharias, was of the family of High Priests. He was a person who flawlessly performed his duties according to all God’s commandments, rules, and regulations. But his one and only desire was that he would obtain a son because his wife, Elizabeth, could not get pregnant. Then one day, Zacharias entered the sanctuary to do the duties of a priest in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood. He had to solemnly burn incense for the people of God because his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord (Luke 1:9). At exactly this time, God sent the angel Gabriel and had him deliver His will to Zacharias: “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John” (Luke 1:13).
At that time, Zacharias’ wife, Elizabeth, was already very old, and Zacharias could not believe it at all, even though God’s messenger, the angel Gabriel, had told him. Therefore, Zacharias became mute, and the other priests perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless (Luke 1:20-22).
Afterwards, God’s astonishing works arose in that family. Elizabeth became pregnant according to the prophecy of the angel Gabriel. After she became pregnant and the child was born, the family wanted to name the child after his father, Zacharias who was a descendant of Aaron the High Priest. Zacharias, who up to that time continued to be a mute, asked for a writing tablet and jotted down that the child’s name was John. Everyone thought he was strange because they used to name a newborn child after one of its relatives names at that time. They all thought it was strange when he named his son John, but Zacharias’ tongue was loosed and he was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to praise God, prophesying like this:
“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:76-79).
Zacharias’ mouth opened and the sound of praise was lifted higher. He prophesied of John’s life, saying, “This child is mine, but he is God’s servant whom God sent. Oh, child whom God gave! You receive the designation of being the prophet of Him who is extremely high. You will go before the Lord and prepare His way, and all people shall learn of true salvation through the remission of sins to the people of the Lord.” This way, John the Baptist got the duty to transfer all the sins of this earth to Jesus and was born into the family of High Priests. He was sent to this world as God’s servant who was indispensable to all mankind.
Also, the Book of Malachi in the Old Testament prophesied of the New Testament’s John the Baptist as follows. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD” (Malachi 4:5). Before the coming of the great and dreadful day that this world would burn like an oven and disappear, God promised that He would send to this earth one of His servants with the spirit and power like that of Elijah in the Old Testament. He was a servant of God who would come to this earth in the end time and do the great work of making all who had left God come back to His bosom.
In Matthew 11:12-14, Jesus said, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.” He testified that the servant of God like Elijah prophesied of in the Old Testament of the Bible is John the Baptist.
“‘Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘But who can endure the day of His coming? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the LORD an offering of righteousness’” (Malachi 3:1-3).
It points to John the Baptist in Malachi 3:1 where it says, “Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me.” It also prophesied of the birth of Jesus Christ when it said, “the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come.” We can see that the united ministry of Jesus Christ and John the Baptist fulfilling the righteousness of God is recorded in Matthew 3:13-17. Therefore, John the Baptist is the last prophet of the Old Testament and was capable of doing the work of transferring the sins of the world to Jesus as the servant of God who was spiritually capable of doing the duties of a High Priest. The Book of Malachi in the Old Testament prophesied that John the Baptist and Jesus would come to this earth before the end of the world comes.
 
 
John the Baptist Came to this Earth by the Spirit and Power of Elijah
 
In Malachi 4:5-6, it says, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” And in Matthew 11:14 of the New Testament, Jesus testified, “And if you are willing to receive it, he [John the Baptist] is Elijah who is to come.”
Then, what does it mean that “I will send you Elijah” before the destruction of this world? This means that God would send to this earth His servant who would transfer the sins of everyone in this world to Jesus Christ. This fact is also written in Isaiah 40:3 as “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’” It is pointing to John the Baptist here when it says, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness.”
2 Kings records the account of the ascension of Elijah as follows: “Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” Like this says, Elijah was the prophet of God who went up to God without suffering death. God promised in the Bible that He would send us Elijah, and this means that He would send John the Baptist who would be able to do work like Elijah. He was John the Baptist who would baptize Jesus and transfer the sins of mankind to Him all at once in the New Testament. The prophet Elijah was the servant of God who had enormous power to make the people of Israel who were distanced from God because of idol worship return to Him. In New Testament times, John the Baptist was God’s servant who could transfer at once the sins of mankind to Jesus. John the Baptist was entrusted with the duties of a High Priest. Out of all people living on this earth, only John the Baptist whom God appointed, was a person who could be given this work and perform it (Matthew 3:13-17).
 
 
The Ministry of Elijah Written in the Old Testament
 
We can see the prominent power of Elijah if we compare the work of Elijah from the Old Testament with other prophets. Isaiah in the Old Testament also told people to abandon idols and return to God, but there were not many people who listened to his cries and returned to God. Jeremiah, the prophet of tears, also told his people the will of God in tears everyday, but there were not many fruits of his ministry. The prophet Ezekiel also cried for his people to abandon their idols and return to God, but the number of people who returned was insignificant.
But, what was the work of Elijah like? He was a person who fought and won a battle of faith with 850 heathen prophets in order to turn the people of God who had served and followed idols back to Him. He was a person so close to God that he went before Him and prayed, and it didn’t rain for three and a half years. He lived during the reign of King Ahab, and King Ahab was a villainous king of Israel who denied God and served idols.
Elijah was the servant of God who prayed that it wouldn’t rain for three and a half years in order to turn the hearts of King Ahab and the people back to God. After three and a half years of severe drought, King Ahab commanded his army to bring the prophet Elijah. King Ahab said that Elijah was the person afflicting Israel, but in reality, King Ahab was the one afflicting God and the people of Israel. Elijah made a proposition to King Ahab; he wanted to show who the real God was through a showdown of faith. He proposed, saying, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21).
At that time on Mt. Carmel, there were 400 prophets of Asherah and 450 prophets of Baal. Elijah proposed they reveal who the true God was between Baal and Jehovah through a showdown of faith. He proposed that, in order to do that, the real God would be the one who answered with fire on the sacrificial offering. At first, Elijah was supposed to be defeated because he had to fight against 850 heathen prophets who worshipped idols. But who do you think won that battle of faith?
The prophets of Baal called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, but they received no answer. They jumped around the altar and earnestly called on the name of Baal. But when the afternoon came and there was no answer, Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud to Baal, for he is a god... perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.” To this, the prophets of Baal yelled with even louder voices and even injured themselves with knives and spears to shed their blood according to their customs, but nothing happened all the way until the time for the offering of evening sacrifice.
At that time, it was Elijah’s turn to show who the real God was. He made a trench around the altar and filled it with water. He had four waterpots filled with water and had it poured on the offering and wood three times, and the water flowed all over the altar and filled the trench. Thus filling the trench with water, Elijah began to pray. “Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”
Then, the fire of the Lord God came down from Heaven and burned the offering, wood, stones, ground, and even the water in the trench. Elijah’s God and his faith beat the idol-worshiping priests. Why did Elijah want to have a showdown by faith in God? That was because that fight was a spiritual battle of faith, not a fight of blood and bodies.
All the 850 prophets and the people of Israel who believed in Baal and Asherah saw the power of the living God at that time. God showed through Elijah’s faith that He was alive and became the people of Israel’s God. Since this power of God was accomplished before the eyes of the king of Israel, no one could say any longer that the Lord God was not the true God. For the first time, King Ahab regretted that he had believed in Baal, and the people of Israel came back to the faith of Elijah and sought their God. Because of this, Elijah was called a powerful servant who brought the people of Israel back to God.
John the Baptist was a servant of God that had this kind of power like Elijah. As the prophet Elijah made all the people of Israel return to God in Old Testament times, John the Baptist could do the work of transferring all the sins of this world to Jesus at once by baptizing Jesus in New Testament times. He testified of Jesus, saying, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) By doing so, all the people in the world could go before Jesus Christ, who came through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, receive the cleansing of their sins through faith, and become the people of God.
God the Father sent John the Baptist six months prior to Jesus and had him prepare the work of passing all the sins of this world over to Him. All the sins of this world could be cleansed through the role of John the Baptist and the baptism Jesus received. Jesus could receive all your sins and my sins at once by receiving the baptism from John the Baptist, and, as the price of the sins of the world, He hung on the Cross, shed His blood, and received the judgment for all our sins. Now, people who believe in the role of John the Baptist and the work of Jesus are able to receive salvation from all the sins of the world at once. Elijah, whom God said He would send in Malachi of the Old Testament, was none other than John the Baptist (Matthew 11:14).
 
 
John the Baptist Had to Be Capable of Doing the Duties of the Last High Priest on This Earth
 
If John the Baptist had not been born in the house of Aaron the High Priest, he would not have been capable of doing the duties of the last High Priest on this earth. In order to be able to do so, he absolutely had to be born into the house of Zacharias, a descendant of Aaron the High Priest. There was a requirement in Old Testament times that only the High Priest could lay his hands on the unblemished scapegoat and transfer onto it the sins which the Israelites committed over the last year. John the Baptist had to be born into the house of the High Priest in order to fulfill the Word of prophecy of the Old Testament. John the Baptist had been born into the house of Aaron the High Priest, and he was able to represent all people, baptize Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, and transfer all the sins of this world to Him at once. But today there are many Christians who remain sinners because they believe in Jesus as the Savior while ignoring and overlooking the role of John the Baptist. So, it is recorded as follows. “For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him” (Matthew 21:32).
John the Baptist came to this world, but the Pharisees and High Priests and those who believe in Jesus now did not pay much attention to his work. In this generation now, there are many people who do not regard as important the ministry of John the Baptist that transferred the sins of this world to Jesus. Religious believers who do not believe in this important work will never be able to know the secret of Jesus’ baptism in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. A life of faith lived without believing in this important work is akin to mocking Jesus’ righteousness and will incur His wrath.
Today, it is a truly sad thing that even Christians who believe that Jesus is the God of true salvation don’t know the Truth known as ‘the gospel of the water and the Spirit’ and lead their lives of faith amidst false truth. So, who on earth were the people who knew and believed in the Truth of the gospel of the water and the Spirit in Jesus’ days? They were the notorious sinners like harlots and tax collectors. Even today, people who are spiritually like harlots and tax collectors try to know and believe in God’s righteousness. What kind of people are harlots spiritually? They are people who commit sin according to the lusts of their flesh and waste their lives.
So, who commits sins that follow the lusts of the flesh? The truth is that all of us commit lewd and licentious sins. We, too, are just like harlots who live endlessly committing sins in our hearts according to the lusts that our flesh desires. But there are only a few people in this generation who acknowledge in their hearts the fact that they are just like harlots. When they acknowledge that they are masses of sin before God and believe that Jesus and John the Baptist came to us in order to fulfill the way of God’s righteousness, all their sins can be cleansed at once.
Even all of you who have now become Christians need faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit before God. That faith is to believe that John the Baptist transferred the sins of the world to Jesus all at once when he baptized Him. The important thing is that faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit has saved us from all the sins of the world. Therefore, we must know the fact that all our sins become cleansed at once when we believe that Jesus took charge of them by receiving baptism from John the Baptist.
The tax collectors in New Testament times were spiritually like harlots, collecting taxes for the Roman authorities that were in control of Israel. At that time, they were so corrupt that it was their custom if they received $1,000 in taxes to put $300 of it in their pockets and pay the remaining $700 to Rome. But they too, knew their own sins. So, there were many tax collectors and harlots at that time who believed in Jesus as their Savior.
But the Pharisees and the chief priests never believed in Him. They insisted that they lived righteously by keeping the Law of God even though they were insufficient. Therefore, they denied John the Baptist who came in the way of righteousness, and they denied Jesus, acting as if they had no sins. In this generation also, wicked Christians don’t try to know that Jesus has taken all their sins by being baptized by John the Baptist. There are also many foolish Christian leaders who don’t believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit because they are worried they will lose their means of living.
The Pharisees and the chief priests whose positions were high at that time covered their faces with the long sleeves of their clothes when they saw sinners, and boasted of their holiness. Even though their hearts were full of all kinds of sins, they did this because they thought they had to behave that way in order to not become dirty, and for other people to treat them holy. Their fake behavior didn’t end there; it extended to them standing on a big street, raising both hands, and prayed in a pious posture. “Lord God, please, save us. Since we are praying for these foolish people, please have mercy on them and save them.”
But they were actually spiritual hypocrites and white sepulchers. They who were teaching the Word of God were actually standing against His righteousness. There are many of those kinds of people in this generation, too. They intend to not believe that John the Baptist transferred the sins of this world to Jesus all at once by baptizing Him, and that Jesus took charge of the sins of this world all at once. They not only intend not to believe themselves, but also intend to block and interfere with people who try to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that is God’s righteousness. But since they don’t believe that John has come by the way of righteousness, they cannot be free from the judgment of the Lord.
 
 
John the Baptist Approached Us by the ‘Way of Righteousness’
 
John the Baptist approached us with the ‘way of righteousness.’ The ‘way of righteousness’ that John the Baptist came with refers to transferring all people’s sins to Jesus and rescuing them from sin. Whoever knows and believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit as God’s righteousness receives salvation from sin. No matter who it is or what sins they have committed, everyone must receive the cleansing of their sins through the baptism that Jesus received from John the Baptist. To fulfill God’s righteousness, Jesus carried and cleansed all of our sins, was nailed and hung on the Cross, died, resurrected in three days, and saved from sin all those who believe. If we do not believe in our hearts in Jesus Christ who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we cannot become the holy people of God.
Jesus received the transference of all the sins of this world at once by being baptized by John the Baptist, carried our sins, was nailed to the Cross, and died for us. Therefore, we now have to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Faith that enables us to be truly cleansed from sin is the faith that believes that, through the baptism He received, Jesus has taken all our sins at once, was nailed to the Cross, and died on the Cross. A person who does not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can never get to Heaven. There is no other path for us to go to Heaven besides that of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and having our sins cleansed. But the Pharisees and religious leaders at that time were fighting against the Truth of salvation because they didn’t believe that Jesus was God. There are also Christians around us now who uselessly believe in Jesus. They are people who, even though they believe in Jesus as their Savior, are cultivating sin in their hearts.
John the Baptist appeared before us, having the way of God’s righteousness. Jesus appeared before tax collectors and harlots and told them that there are 12 kinds of sins in people’s hearts. He taught us of the gospel of the water and the Spirit which cleanses our sins. The Lord enabled all people to receive cleansing from sin who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that has become the righteousness of God. John the Baptist performed the role of the High Priest who transferred the sins of this world for those who believe in the Lord’s righteousness. Even now, John the Baptist comes before you and me with the path of the Truth that contains God’s righteousness. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is ‘God’s righteousness’ which he believed and spread. You must believe by faith in God’s righteousness that John the Baptist fulfilled with Jesus.
In the New Testament of the Bible, it is recorded, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe” (John 1:6-7). John the Baptist witnessed of Jesus’ righteousness, and all people come to believe in Jesus as the Savior through John the Baptist’s witness. If John the Baptist had not performed the role of transferring the sins of the world to Jesus Christ through baptism, how could we believe in Jesus as our Savior and receive the cleansing of all our sins by faith?
But, we weren’t able to see with our own eyes Jesus receiving baptism from John or hanging and dying on the Cross, so how we can believe it? God gave us His Word; His Word is the Bible.
You can now clearly know the fact that all your sins went over to Jesus at once through the baptism John the Baptist gave Him. We have got to know that all our sins have gone over to Jesus through the baptism He received from John. So, how have those who know and believe in Jesus as their Savior come to remain as sinners? How can all the sins of a person be cleansed at once if he does not believe that our sins all went over to Jesus at once when John the Baptist baptized Him? If you could not know that your sins went over to Jesus because you didn’t know the gospel of the water and the Spirit, how could you be freed from all your sins?
If you do not believe in Jesus as your Savior and know His righteousness, His love would have nothing to do with you. Jesus’ love and blood could become life to you and me because He had taken all our sins at once by being baptized by John the Baptist and by dying on the Cross. If we know and believe this righteousness of God, we can receive the cleansing of all our sins at once just by that faith. But if it had not been for Jesus’ love and John the Baptist’s work, there would have been no way for the sins of us who believe in Jesus as our Savior to be cleansed.
Since people don’t know that Jesus took all their sins at once by receiving baptism from John the Baptist, sin still remains in their hearts even if they believe in Jesus as their Savior. Because they do not know the meaning of the baptism that Jesus received from John the Baptist, they remain as sinners forever, even if they want to believe in Jesus as their Savior or even if they believe so fervently. They cannot but lead habitual religious lives since those sins still remain in them. They live day by day without hope to enter Heaven, just waiting for their sins to be forgiven.
Jesus proclaimed, “He is Elijah who is to come.” We can confirm through the four Gospels that John the Baptist transferred the sins of the world to Jesus. Who is the Elijah that is to come spoken of in Matthew 11:14 where it says, “And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come”? He is John the Baptist. So, we must know the meaning of these words: “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 11:12-15). John the Baptist is prophesied of in the Old Testament, and therefore, we can know that He was a man sent by God. We are able to know through the Bible that John the Baptist was God’s servant sent by Him.
 
 
We Come to Understand the Work of Jesus Correctly and Can Go to Heaven Only When We Believe Properly in the Ministry of John the Baptist
 
It is recorded in the Bible, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence.” Violence refers to “the use of physical force to injure somebody or damage something.” Then, why did God say that the Kingdom of Heaven would suffer violence from the days of John the Baptist? John the Baptist’s role must have been quite important seeing as the Bible states it so plainly.
The answer is simple. The time from the beginning of Old Testament times to the time before Jesus came were the Age of the Law. The prophecies of the Age of the Law said that Jesus would come to this earth in the future, take charge of all the sins of mankind at once, and cleanse them, and Jesus could completely fulfill those things in the New Testament through the baptism that John the Baptist gave Him. So, it is written that everyone who takes the Kingdom of Heaven by violence through faith in God’s righteousness can be qualified to enter Heaven, even though they originally had no qualifications to enter Heaven.
The Age of the Law spoken of by the Lord was until the time of John the Baptist. The New Testament era started from the birth of Jesus and His baptism. Since the Law gives us the knowledge of sin, we could recognize our sins and know that we were sinners through God giving the Law. We came to know by faith that Jesus received baptism from John the Baptist, took the sins of the world at once, and hung and died on the Cross. Therefore, we are able to enter the gate of Heaven without hesitation by pure faith in God’s righteousness. Since all the sins spoken of by the Law went over to Jesus by His baptism by John the Baptist, these words were fulfilled: “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.”
Jesus could completely fulfill salvation by receiving all the sins of this world through the baptism given by John the Baptist. Jesus said that He was to fulfill God’s righteousness by receiving baptism from John. It could be said that the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the last fulfillment of the promise of salvation written in the Old Testament. The people of Israel in the Old Testament era laid their hands on the head of the sacrificial offerings, transferred their sins to them, shed their blood, and offered them in order to receive the remission of the sins they committed before God. As such, since Jesus also took the sins of the world to His body by receiving baptism from John the Baptist, He became the propitiation for the sins of the world by shedding His blood on the Cross.
 
 
In the Old Testament, They Had to Lay Hands on an Offering without Blemish and Transfer Their Sins to It in Order to Cleanse Their Sins
 
The term ‘the laying on of hands’ in the Old Testament has a spiritual meaning of ‘going over.’ We can know that the laying on of hands has the meaning of sins going over through this Word in Leviticus 1:3: “If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD.” So, the people of Israel brought an offering without blemish before God, laid their hands on it, and transferred their sins to it in order to cleanse them. That is because it says in the Word of God that doing so would make it acceptable. The word ‘acceptable’ means that God would gladly receive that offering. An offering acceptable to God was a sacrificial offering that had received the laying on of hands on its head. The offering that God gladly received gave the cleansing of sins to that person. Instead of judging that sinner, God saw that his sins had been transferred to the sacrificial offering, accepted the offering, and gladly cleansed that person’s sins.
All mankind, who are the descendants of Adam and Eve who had committed the first sin, are all sinners from the time they are born. They cannot resolve their own sins by themselves. So, God gave the people of Israel in the Old Testament era offerings of atonement. Those offerings were sacrificial offerings that were to receive the laying on of hands. So, God told them to ‘lay hands’ on the head of the animal in order to cleanse their sins. He spoke of this in Leviticus 1:3-4. Since God is holy, “The wages of sin is death”(Romans 6:23). But if people die in sin, they go to hell; since God didn’t want that, He gave the sacrificial system for the atonement of sins in Old Testament times that said that the people must lay their hands on the head of the sacrificial offering. God thus accepted the blood of the sacrificial offering as the wages of people’s sins and liberated them from all their sins.
That’s the way it is. From the beginning of the world, intending to make people His children, God gave the sacrificial system of salvation, which consisted of ‘the laying on of hands’ and ‘the shedding of blood.’ Therefore, the sacrificial offering of salvation set by God had to first receive the laying on of hands in order to receive the sinner’s sins, and it inevitably had to afterwards shed its blood and die. That is the justice of God and His love in order to save sinners. That is because God knew even before the creation of the world that we humans would fall into sinful states by committing transgressions. Therefore, He prepared in advance the sacrificial Lamb of God that could cleanse all our sins, and He waited for us. He made us be born again as His children through our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. God was harboring His sublime will to make us live with Him forever. God does not hand us over to destruction according to the judgment of sin; in order to save us, He told us to transfer all our sins by the laying on of hands to the sacrificial Lamb of God that was prepared.
Even though people break God’s commandments and always commit sins, He opened the way for us to receive the cleansing of our sins according to His exalted purpose of creation and salvation toward us. He established the sacrificial system that enabled us to transfer all our sins to the sacrificial offering by the laying on of hands, and by faith. God can’t pass over sins as if He didn’t see them, and since He can’t just leave us to die because He is the God of love, He saves us through the sacrificial Lamb for our sins and by having us lay our hands on it, shed its blood, and receive the cleansing of our sins by faith.
God gave us the Law of salvation that accomplished the justice and mercy of God at once. This is the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The Lord completed that justice and love by God’s righteousness. People transferred their sins to the sacrificial animals in the Old Testament era, and in the New Testament era, Jesus received the transference of all our sins through His baptism, saved us, and made those who believe in Him the children of God. God has established ‘the law of the laying on of hands’ as the method for transferring people’s sins to the sacrificial offering, and that offering’s blood absolutely had to be shed because it took the sins of people after their laying on of hands.
 
 
People’s Sins Are Recorded on the Tablets of Their Consciences and In the Books of Works
 
It is recorded, “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; with the point of a diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of your altars” (Jeremiah 17:1). Judah here represents all people. In other words, people’s sins are recorded in those two places. The words ‘engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of your altars’ means that everyone’s sins are first recorded on the tablets of their hearts and then in the Books of Works, that is, the Books of Judgment (Revelation 20:12).
The tablet of a person’s heart is referring to his conscience. Our consciences record our sins accurately and in detail with a pen of iron with the point of a diamond. No matter how much we have committed total sin so others could not know, we cannot be freed from being sinners because our sins are recorded in our consciences. So, when people commit sins, they come to continually think about them, feel guilty because of them, and worry about them. But since there is a difference in how guilty people feel, some people continue living shamelessly as if they have done nothing wrong even though they commit sins. But if others look closely at those people’s consciences, there would be a lot of sin recorded there. Their consciences are merely thick and their wills are very strong, so they just disregard their consciences.
But sin isn’t only recorded on the tablet of the heart. They are also recorded in the Books of Judgment which lie open in the presence of God. Just as there must be two or more witnesses in the world for there to be any effect, God recorded people’s sins on the tablets of their hearts and in the Books of Judgment. God knew that people would go before Him and try to hide their sins until the end and fight against Him, saying, “I didn’t commit sin. I never did. You didn’t see me, did You? Why are You telling me I have sin when You don’t even know that well?” Therefore, He recorded their sins on the tablets of their hearts and, at the same time, in the Books of Judgment.
The sins recorded surely with a pen of iron and with a point of a diamond are erased if one receives the remission of all his sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. But those who do not believe that Jesus Christ is their Savior or that John the Baptist came with the way of righteousness will someday suffer the frightening wrath of God for their sins. People who are under a curse because they could not receive the remission of their sins absolutely go to hell when they go before God because their sins are written on the tablets of their hearts.
As it says in the Bible that “so then each of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12), we will personally give an account to God of all our sins just as they are engraved on the tablets of our hearts when we go before Him. You may say, “I am Mr. Kim from the Republic of Korea. I was born on earth and committed sins from my birth. I committed so many sins every day from morning till evening that it’s hard for me to speak of them all. It wasn’t too bad when I was young, but starting after I was 15, I committed sins full-scale. I had so much fun committing sins but as I passed the age of 20 and became 25, sins began to gradually pile up on my conscience. I had so many sins that I couldn’t even mention every single one I committed. From the time I was born until I died, except for when I slept, I committed sins anytime my eyes were opened and came here like this.”
Then, God will ask, “Did you know and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit?” Even if that person wants to lie and say that he did, he will come to tell the truth, saying, “No, I didn’t even have any interest in it.” Then, God will ask them something else.
“So, how did you resolve the sin in your heart?”
“I tried every method to resolve them, but they remain in my heart just as they were.” Then, God will say, “You will go to hell.”
“I’m going to hell?”
“Yes!”
“But even so, God, please...”
“‘Even so’ what? Anyone who has sin must go to hell. So, didn’t I give the gospel of the water and the Spirit with which one can receive salvation from sin? I did, but since you didn’t receive it, not even I can do anything now. Farewell, and have fun in hell!”
If the sins on the tablet of a person’s heart are not blotted out while he is living on this earth, he cannot go to Heaven no matter who he is. That means he will go to hell if the sins on the tablet of his heart do not go away, even if he believed in Jesus as his Savior. But there are people who try to deceive their consciences even while they go before God. They absolutely insist before God that they have no sin.
If we look at Revelation 20:12, it says there are two kinds of books when we go before God. One is the Book of Life and the others are the Books of Judgment. The Books of Judgment are the Books of Works. People’s sins are recorded one by one in the Books of Works, and they are stacked up like a mountain before God. But since only a list of names is written in the Book of Life, it can be said that it is not that big. In that Book is recorded who was born again through the water and the Spirit and who has received the remission of their sins and what kinds of rewards God will give them. God knows all these things.
God assigned an angel to each person and had the angels follow and go along with them and record all their actions in detail. It is also recorded in Matthew that everyone has an angel. So, since God receives the report of everything about us and sees things personally, we cannot deceive Him. Even if we want to deceive our consciences by insisting, “I did not commit sin,” such a farfetched argument won’t work before the Books of Works recorded before God. God appointed the sacrificial system for man’s sake and let them receive the remission of their sins.
 
 
God Gave the Sacrificial System with which People Receive Salvation to Erase the Sins Recorded on the Tablets of People’s Hearts and the Books of Works
 
After people in the Old Testament era transferred their sins to the sacrificial offering through the laying on of hands on its head, they killed that animal and burned it. The people of Israel bred sheep and goats in order to use them for sin offerings to receive the remission of their sins before God. In our country, people raise a lot of cattle; but most people do it in order to farm, make money, or use them for food. Of course, goats and sheep could also be used for food by the people of Israel, but they were used for offering sacrifice. Afterward, there was meat separated that could be eaten.
If a person offered sacrifice once, did that mean he didn’t need to do it again? No, that was not the case. Since the Israelites committed sin everyday, they had to offer sacrifice everyday. It wasn’t that a person would not commit sin tomorrow because he offered sacrifice today. It wasn’t that a person eternally received the remission of his sins because he just once laid his hands on the sheep, cut its throat, took its blood, and placed it on the altar of burnt offerings to be offered as the sin offering. He might think, “All the sins I committed today went over to that sheep.” As he returns home, he runs into a spiteful guy who didn’t pay back the money loaned to him, and he immediately rains abuses on him, strikes out at him, and comes to fight with him. So, sins are once again recorded on the tablet of his heart.
He has just come from offering sacrifice, but if sin is immediately recorded on the tablet of his heart, he cannot help but be angry with himself and be afflicted. “It hasn’t been long since I got a $100 goat, laid my hands on it, transferred my sins onto it, took its blood, and offered a just sacrifice by killing it. I received the remission of my sins with difficulty that way, but I’ve committed sin again because of that guy. Now I have no choice but to get a sheep from the backyard this time.” So, he goes and takes a sheep again to the Tabernacle and asks one of the priests to offer sacrifice for him. In Old Testament times, the priests were always at the entrance of the tabernacle. They had no time to rest. That was what the priests in Old Testament times did.
“Didn’t you just stop by here a little while ago?”
“Yes, that was me. But I committed sin again. I offered sacrifice and was on my way home with a light heart, but wouldn’t you know that I ran into a guy that borrowed some of my money and never paid it back. I tried to control myself, but that guy kept goading me. So, unknown to even me, my fist flew. Of course, he then threw his at me, and it was crazy. Lightning flashed all around. Anyway, I got the remission of my sins and committed another on my way home, so I brought another sacrificial sheep. Of course, this one, too, is a sheep without blemish.”
“Hey, please get a hold of yourself and live virtuously. This is hard on me, too. I think I’m going to die. It suffices for you to bring this sheep, lay your hands on it, and give it to me; but doesn’t the work after that all remain to me? I, as a priest on duty, have to cut its throat, place the blood on the horns of the altar of burnt offerings, strip the leather and separate the meat into pieces, and burn it in the fire. Damn, it’s so hard that I think I’m going to die. It was very hard for me to deal with that one animal you brought before, but, man, you’ve come back with another animal. Because of people like you, there is no day that the smoke of the Tabernacle will end.”
“Oh, I am really sorry, Priest. I will be careful in the future.”
As he returned home having pledged with a light heart to not commit sin again, he unavoidably committed sin again. Aren’t we the people who commit the same sin two, three, or even ten times in a day? Every time that happened, those people had to come to the Tabernacle to offer sacrifice.
“I have shamelessly returned. This time take care of everything as you will, my Priest!” Then, he would just throw a sheep there and leave. But if he entrusted even what he had to do to the priest and just gave the sheep and left, that offering would become totally worthless. If the priest killed, and ate the sheep, and if he laid his hands on the sheep for his own sins, got the blood, and placed it on the horns of the altar of burnt offerings and poured it on the ground, only the priest’s sins would be remitted. If a person wanted to make an offering that would eliminate his sins, he absolutely had to lay his hands on it and transfer his own sins to it. Afterwards, all the sins in the Books of Works and on the tablet of his heart would be erased according to the law that says, “The wages of sin is death,” cutting the sheep’s throat, drawing its blood till it died, getting that blood and placing it on the four horns of the altar of burnt offerings, and pouring the remaining blood on the ground.
What sin did the sheep actually have? What kind of ethics or morals does a sheep have with which to know sin? Since animals don’t have souls, they have no consciences or consciousness, so they don’t understand the Law. Therefore, no sacrificial animal has any sins. Sheep merely had to die because they had received the sins of people by receiving the laying on of their hands. A totally ignorant sheep is merely used by God as man’s substitute in order to save man; that animal doesn’t know sin or have sin.
People who wanted to receive the remission of their sins absolutely had to lay their hands on the sacrificial animal. After they laid their hands on its head and transferred their sins to it, they had to kill that animal. Therefore, if a person didn’t lay his hands on the animal and just threw it and left, it didn’t become a proper offering to receive the remission of sins. If a person intended to receive the remission of his sins, he absolutely had to lay his hands on an offering without blemish and draw its blood, put that blood on the horns of the altar of burnt offerings, pour the rest of the blood on the ground, and lastly, offer the meat before God, burning it in the fire. The sinner had to lay his hands on the head of the animal and kill it himself, but the priest had to do the rest.
Since people were prone to commit sins several tens of times in just one day, they weren’t capable of offering sacrifice every time they committed sin. Since a person might have taken and offered three sheep up as offerings yesterday and have to go to the Tabernacle the next day, too, he might have to slay at least 365 animals a year if he were to go the Tabernacle on average once a day for a year. If so, it would be out of one’s power to raise sheep. But such a person would have a desire to quit offering sacrifices because he came to offer sacrifice annoyingly everyday and commit sin again tomorrow. Therefore, he would give up while saying, “I’ll commit sin again tomorrow even though I offer a sacrifice today” because he would think in disappointment, “I’m no good. I can’t do it. I’m no good!”
Since God knew our weaknesses well, He gave a way that would remit the sins committed by all the Israelites over a year. In order for the people of Israel to receive the remission of the sins over a year, two goats were prepared. The High Priest, instead of all the sinners, laid his hands on the head of the first goat as the representative of the people of Israel before God. And he drew its blood by cutting its throat. He then sprinkled the blood seven times on the east side of the Mercy Seat. “Lord God! Look at this blood.” Wings of angels covered the lid that covered the Ark of the Covenant, and the High Priest sprinkled the blood above and before it seven times (Leviticus 16:15-16).
Two sacrificial goats were needed for the offering of the Day of Atonement. One was used in the offering in God’s Tabernacle. When the High Priest laid his hands on its head, cut its throat, and killed it, blood came out. He then took the blood and entered the Most Holy Place to sanctify it and all its instruments. Afterwards, the High Priest had to lay his hands on the head of the remaining goat, the scapegoat, in front of the people, and a person who was chosen beforehand took it into the wilderness. So, that scapegoat carried all the yearly sins of the people of Israel into that wilderness that was void of water or grass, bleated, wandered about, and died of thirst. Two sacrificial animals were needed since the sacrificial offering was made twice like that. That was the offering of the Day of Atonement.
But this wasn’t a perfect offering, either. Since they had to offer such a sacrifice every year, it was an offering that reminded them of sin (Hebrews 10:3-4). Now God wanted to establish an eternal, unchanging offering of salvation rather than the imperfect offerings that had to be offered repeatedly every year. So, He promised to offer Himself as the eternal sacrifice that no longer needed any more offering for sin.
 
 
The Eternal Sacrifice of Redemption Given by God Was Fulfilled by Jesus Being Baptized by John the Baptist
 
God reminded Himself of the necessary High Priest and sacrificial offering for an eternal offering exactly according to the law of salvation that He planned even before the beginning of the world. That was the ministry of John the Baptist and that of Jesus. The ‘baptism’ that John the Baptist gave to Jesus in the Jordan River was the same as the laying on of hands of the Old Testament. In other words, Jesus, as the sacrificial Lamb without blemish, came to this earth and received baptism from John the Baptist, the representative of mankind. That way, He received the sins of the whole world. Jesus, who received the transference of sin, hung on the Cross and received all the judgment for all those sins. God’s justice and His just judgment were fulfilled on this earth through Jesus offering this sacrifice.
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come” (Matthew 11:12-14).
John the Baptist wasn’t just the representative of the people of Israel; he was the representative of all mankind. He was called to be the greatest man among all the people born of women. If we look at Matthew 11:11, Jesus pointed at John the Baptist and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” And He said that the Kingdom of Heaven would suffer violence from the days of John the Baptist.
The Old Testament was until John the Baptist because he was the last High Priest of the Old Testament. The New Testament era starts from the birth of Jesus Christ. The New Testament started when John the Baptist stood on the borderline between the Old and New Testament eras and transferred sin to Jesus by baptizing Him. Since John the Baptist baptized Jesus and transferred all sins to Him, it was said that the Kingdom of Heaven would suffer violence from the days of John the Baptist. Since he baptized Jesus and transferred the sins of the world to Him, he could witness, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” And the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence from the days of John the Baptist, and the days of the New Testament started.
If we look at Matthew 3:13-15, it says, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?’ But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him.” So, let’s think for a second. Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Where was He baptized? He was baptized in the Jordan River. Why was He baptized? He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. Like the words that say, “For John came to you in the way of righteousness,” he baptized Jesus and Jesus was baptized by him. Jesus was baptized in order to ‘fulfill all righteousness.’ Jesus being baptized in the Jordan River has the meaning that it was in order for Him to ‘fulfill all righteousness.’
People of the Old Testament era entered the land of Canaan by crossing the Jordan River. The land of Canaan means the Promised Land, that is, Heaven. So, the Jordan River also means ‘the river of death,’ so it meant that they were crossing the Jordan River to meet God who was in the Promised Land of Canaan, Heaven. So, Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River to end all sins of death.
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence.” John the Baptist started his ministry when Jesus was going to begin His public ministry. The first thing Jesus did in His public life of eliminating the sins of mankind was being baptized by John. Jesus being baptized by John was receiving the transference of all the sins of mankind along with all your sins and mine. Jesus received all the sins of this world all at once by being baptized in the form of laying on of hands according to the sacrificial system in the Old Testament. Who baptized Him? John the Baptist, the representative of mankind and greatest man born among women, baptized Him.
John the Baptist was the greatest man among those born of women. When John the Baptist was thirty on this earth, Jesus was also thirty. Since Jesus was born six months after John the Baptist, He was physically behind him, but Jesus and John the Baptist clearly met as the Lamb of God and mankind’s representative.
Jesus ended His private life and started His public life when He turned thirty. He started the work of saving all mankind from sin by being baptized. Who did Jesus seek in order to be baptized? Jesus strolled over to John the Baptist who was shouting in the Jordan River, “Repent, you brood of vipers! Come back, be cleansed by this water, and believe in the Savior to come!” At last, Jesus lowered His head to John the Baptist.
“Baptize Me, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. You are the representative of all mankind, so it is proper to transfer all people’s sins to Me through baptism. I will cleanse all people’s sins when you transfer them to Me. I will let all people who believe in Me receive salvation by receiving the transference of all the sins of the people of the world and by dying on the Cross. This is the love and salvation of God. God the Father sent Me to this earth to take all people’s sins and receive the judgment instead of them. Therefore, you must baptize Me.”
Thus, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and received the transference of all the sins of the world. The word ‘baptism’ means ‘to be cleansed.’ Baptism also means ‘to bury,’ ‘to pass over sins,’ and ‘to transfer.’ Likewise, the laying on of hands in the Old Testament also meant, ‘to transfer,’ ‘sin goes over,’ and ‘to bury.’ The Old Testament said that sin would go over if they laid their hands on the sacrificial offering. Therefore, God gladly accepted the blood of that offering. God said He accepted the sacrificial offering, so the sacrificial offering offered by the laying on of hands and with the blood made Him glad.
God sent us Jesus because He loves us just like it is written, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). That is because He could not make people who had sin into His people. So, God transferred all the sins of mankind from them to Jesus. He sent Jesus and had Him take all the sins of the world in order to make us sinless people. We could become sinless children of God because all our sins have gone over to Jesus when He received baptism from John the Baptist. He made all mankind become His sinless people through their faith in Jesus’ eternal sacrifice. That is God’s love, holiness, and justice. Therefore, Jesus did the work of being baptized.
Jesus walked up to John the Baptist when he was baptizing people in the Jordan River.
“Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. Baptize Me” (Matthew 3:15).
“How can I baptize You? Even though I am the greatest man among those born of women and God has given me this duty, You are higher than me. You are the Son of God, and You are my Creator. So, how can I baptize You?”
Then, Jesus replied, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. It is fitting to eliminate all people’s iniquity and sin by Me being baptized by you and you baptizing Me.”
Saying “Thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” meant that Jesus would receive all the sins of mankind upon His body by being baptized by John the Baptist. John the Baptist was the representative of mankind and the person who performed the duties of the High Priest of all humankind. As the last High Priest of the Old Testament, he baptized Jesus to transfer the sins of the world to Him. John the Baptist was the only person who was qualified to baptize Jesus, the Lamb of God and the Son of God. Jesus was baptized by the High Priest of the earth because He was the Lamb of God who came to eliminate all the sins of the world. Regarded through the Old Testament, Jesus was the Lamb of God who was the offering of atonement, and John the Baptist was the High Priest. So Jesus said, “You are the person who will transfer all people’s sins to Me. Bestow baptism on Me.”
John the Baptist refused Jesus when He said that, but Jesus commanded, “Do it! Thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. I command you. Baptize Me. Transfer the sins of mankind to Me by baptizing Me with the baptism of the laying on of hands. By receiving the baptism of the laying on of hands by you, I will receive the transference of all mankind’s sins and completely cleanse all those sins. The most righteous work is to implant all the sins into My body by being baptized by you. I have to receive condemnation instead of all mankind because of those implanted sins. This is God’s love and salvation.”
Jesus admonished John the Baptist to obey Him. Accordingly, John the Baptist baptized Him. Jesus said, “Permit it to be so now. For thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Mathew 3:15). Here, “all righteousness” in Greek is ‘πάσαν δικαιοσύνην’ (pasan dikaiosunen), which means the fairest state that has no defect at all.
 
 
To Cleanse All Our Sins, We Must Believe in the Righteous Acts Performed by Jesus
 
We are like factories that produce sin from our birth. That is because we inherited our parents’ sins from the time we were in our mothers’ wombs. We are born on this earth having inherited the sin of Adam and Eve, and are the originators and producers of sin who commit several hundred of kinds of personal sins until we die. We are producers of sins ‘from the cradle to the grave.’
Who then is the Person who saves such sinful beings and makes them righteous? It is Jesus, the Son of God, who was baptized by John the Baptist, shed His blood, and died. Our Lord said that it was the only and the most proper and just way of salvation for Him to be baptized to eliminate all mankind’s sins once and for all. John transferred all the sins of mankind to Jesus, and Jesus received on His body all those sins of mankind through His baptism. He said that was the most fitting way.
We must believe what He said. Along with that, we must believe in the righteous acts that He performed. So, it says that John came in the way of righteousness. John spread correct Truth.
We are foolish people who commit sin until the day we die. However, all our sins went over to Jesus by John the Baptist baptizing Jesus in the Jordan River, the river of death. Through this method of the laying on of hands, Jesus fulfilled all of God’s righteousness by being baptized. Before you and I were even born on this earth, our Lord came to this world and accomplished our salvation.
As long as this world exists, people who are in the likeness of God’s image are born and die, and born and die again. All people commit sins while they are alive, and they eventually die. This will happen until the end of this world. Jesus came to this earth in 1 AD in order to save all these sinful people from their sins. He was baptized by John in order to save you and me from sin. Jesus was baptized and fulfilled all righteousness in order to save all of us from sin. He fulfilled all righteousness, that is, the remission of sins, through His baptism. Our Lord Jesus Christ took charge of all your and my sins through baptism. When Jesus was baptized, the voice of God, who was pleased, was heard from Heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” God was saying, “He is My beloved Son. My Son will make you sinless by taking all the sins of mankind through this baptism.” We were originally people who would go to hell because of our sins, but since we have become people who possess Heaven by faith, we have spiritually become the violent who strongly believe in the work that Jesus and John the Baptist did.
 
  
As Jesus Gave Freely, I Hope You Receive Freely
 
One day, I came to possess an expensive children’s watch. I wanted to give it to a child as a present, and as things turned out, three children passed by my side. I called those three children over.
“Hey, kids, just a second.”
“Yes, sir?”
“I’ve got a watch and would like to give it to one of you. Who wants it?” I thought they would all beg for it, but strangely enough, all three of them hesitated. Then, the first child spoke.
“You’re not really going to give it. Don’t lie; and I don’t need it, anyway.” Then, he muttered to himself. “Nothing’s free. That guy’s a liar.”
So, I held the watch out to the second child. He hesitated but accepted it. It seemed he was thinking for a while, and then he spoke as if he doubted.
“You’re going to take it back, aren’t you? Or you’re going to tell everyone I stole it, aren’t you? I can’t do it. Taking something of someone else’s for free is dangerous. I won’t take it. I don’t need it.”
I saw these children who willingly couldn’t accept a gift even when I wanted to give it to them and took the watch back with a somewhat bitter heart, wondering if I should resent the world that had made them that way. Then, the third child’s eyes opened up wide and he spoke.
“Give it to me, please.” I quickly took out the watch and gave it to him.
“Thank you, sir. But you can’t take back what you’ve given. If you do, they say you’ll grow horns on your butt.”
That child alternated putting the watch on his left arm and right arm and liked it. My heart was lightened for the first time because of the third child. He was very cute and dear for believing me when I said I would just give it for free, accepting it and being pleased, and fastening it here and there. An upright heart of believing in the Lord is one like the heart of this third child. Heaven is believing what the Lord did for us, and gratefully accepting it; we enter Heaven by that kind of faith. All that people who possess the Kingdom of Heaven by faith have to do is to be joyful and thankful for God’s grace.
 
 
People Who Believe the Word of God in Their Hearts Are the Violent Who Took the Kingdom of Heaven by Force
 
The faith of people who enter the Kingdom of Heaven by force is having faith of salvation that God gave us. This is faith in the spiritual Truth of salvation. Brothers and sisters, do you remember the Word in Romans that says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”? No one can receive salvation from sin through his or her virtuous deeds. No one can ever even get close to Heaven by his or her own behaviors or abilities. All people are sinners the same, whether they have committed many sins or not. No matter how good their acts are, they cannot pay the price of sin, and they can never go to Heaven by their meritorious deeds. So, who on earth goes to Heaven?
Like when the Bible said, “The violent take it by force,” only people who believe that the Lord has remitted our sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit can take and possess the Kingdom of Heaven by faith. People who have received salvation from sin by faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit enter the Kingdom of Heaven. “Lord! I believe that Jesus came to this earth to save us sinners, received the baptism of the laying on of hands from John the Baptist to take all our sins all at once. You came to this earth and did this; why wouldn’t I believe? Lord, I believe. I give thanks for the grace of salvation with which You remitted all my sins.” God is well pleased with and cherishes those who take the Kingdom of Heaven with gratefulness through faith like this.
The Bible, which is the Word of God, is never a lie and is real Truth. It has never changed and continues to be handed down from the beginning of the world until now. The Bible is the Word of God. What can we believe in if we don’t believe in the Word of God? It is clearly written in the Word of God that Jesus fulfilled all righteousness when He was baptized. People have to go to hell because they have sin. But it says that Jesus has taken all people’s sins by being baptized by John the Baptist. The Bible from the beginning to the end says that Jesus made all people sinless by His baptism.
After Jesus received the sins of the world by being baptized, He shed His blood on the Cross. Jesus receiving the laying on of hands, being submerged in the water, and coming back up again refers to receiving all mankind’s sins, dying on the Cross, and being resurrected from the dead. Jesus personally took all our sins through His baptism, afterwards was nailed to the Cross and died, and was resurrected on the third day after He died. He now sits on the right hand of God the Father’s throne and gives words of proof of “ You have no sin” to the people who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. Jesus coming to this earth and making us sinless is God’s righteousness. It is God’s salvation. You must believe this fact in your hearts.
The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the Truth that must be in your and my hearts. You must believe in your hearts in the Word that you have heard up until now. You must take the Kingdom of Heaven by force through faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. You and I are people who have taken the Kingdom of Heaven by force through faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Only those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit in their hearts and have really received the remission of their sins can go to the Kingdom of Heaven. All your sins went over to Jesus Christ, and He received all the judgment for those sins instead of you. Then He was resurrected on the third day after He died, and sat on the right hand of God the Father’s throne and He sits there now waiting for the Day of Judgment. He is alive.
The Lord came to this earth in the flesh of man, was baptized, died on the Cross, and was resurrected on the third day after He died. He testified of the Truth for 40 days after He was resurrected, and even though He lived a short life of 33 years in this world, He now sits on the right hand of God the Father for eternity. There, He says to anyone who believes in his heart according to the Word of salvation, “That is right! That faith is right. You are one of my people. Enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Brothers and sisters! All your and my sins went over to Jesus through His baptism. So God said that from the days of John the Baptist, the Kingdom of Heaven would suffer violence. He said that the violent take it by force. He doesn’t ask why they take it by force; on the contrary, He leaves it to be taken by force. What do they take by force? People become the righteous by faith and take the Kingdom of Heaven by force that comes from that faith. That means they possess the Kingdom of Heaven by faith. This is correct faith.
Whether people practice asceticism to distance themselves from sin, try not to commit sin, or pile up good works to go to the Kingdom of Heaven, it is all hypocrisy. No man can do that, no matter who he is because man is of flesh. Things will end badly soon no matter how much we try to act righteously because you and I have weak bodies. Our bodies want to eat if we see something tasty; they want to become prettier even if they’ve already become pretty, and they want to have more than others. As unhappy as it is, there is no end to a body’s greed. How can we who are like that live without committing sin? It is impossible. Therefore, we must become the righteous by faith, not our meritorious behaviors. We must become God’s children by faith, get eternal life by faith, and enter the Kingdom of Heaven by faith.
 
 
I Have Transferred All My Sins to Jesus and Become One of the Righteous by Believing in the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
 
People become the righteous by their hearts believing just like the Bible says, “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10). Brothers and sisters, do you really believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit in your hearts? Do you believe that all our sins went over to Jesus? If so, you are the righteous. You have no sin. You cannot have sin. Since Jesus came to this earth and took away all your sins, transgressions, faults, and insufficiencies at once by being baptized, you have no sin.
Just as Elijah was the representative among the servants of God in the Old Testament that represented all the people of this world just as God’s servant, who is the representative of all humankind? He is John the Baptist. 2000 years ago, John the Baptist baptized Jesus in your and my places and transferred all our sins to Him. All the sins of your ancestors, your children, and the children of your children went over to Him at that time. Your parents are also people of the world as well as you. Everyone who will be born in the future is also included in the people of the world. John the Baptist declared, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Then, this passage means that Jesus has taken all the future, present, and past sins of the people of the world through His baptism.
OK, let’s say you had original sin from the time you were in your mothers’ wombs, were born, and committed sins until you were ten. Did all those sins go over to Jesus or not? Of course they went over to Him. Of course not only the sins committed until you were ten went over to Jesus but also all the sins you will commit for the rest of your lives went over to Him. Since all the sins of the world went over to Jesus like that, you have no sin. That is, if you believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
In John 1:29, there is a witness of Jesus that says, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John the Baptist witnessed this the very next day after he baptized Jesus. Just as this witness, Jesus received all the sins of the world through His baptism, carried all those sins to the Cross, and died there. The sins you have from the time you are in your mothers’ wombs and the sins you commit until the time you die are included in the sins of the world. The sins you commit knowingly and unknowingly because you are immature are sins of the world because you commit them living in the world. All sins are the sins of the world: Those committed knowingly, those committed unknowingly, those committed in secret and those committed publicly. All such sins of the world went over to Jesus. All sins we committed up until 20, 30, 40, and all we have committed until we die were passed over to Jesus. They clearly went over to Jesus.
We must definitely know and believe in our hearts in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that eliminates all our sins and lets us possess the Kingdom of Heaven. Regardless of sex and age, everyone must know this fact and treasure it in his heart. Of course, I, too, believe in this Truth in my heart. Jesus has blotted out all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist and shedding His blood and dying on the Cross. We must know that there is no way to receive the remission of our sins besides the gospel of the water and the Spirit. I am very thankful that Jesus alone took away the sins of the world.
Let’s say that we committed sin from the time we were one until we were 30. This is actually the heyday of our lives. When life is at its height, we are prone to commit sins plentifully. The heyday of life is the heyday of sin. Not only the sins we committed in our heydays, but also the sins we commit until we die, as well as our parents’ sins and our children’s sins, went over to Jesus. Adam and Eve’s sins also went over, and all the sins that mankind will commit until the last day of this world went over to Him. They went over to our Lord Jesus Christ by our faith in Him.
I can’t say exactly when or on what day Jesus will come, but the end of this world is clearly on its way. On the very day He comes, a certain woman will surely give birth to a child. Jesus even took the sins of the child that will be born at that time. Since He has taken even those sins, anyone can receive the remission of his sins by faith in his heart in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Therefore, everyone must receive the remission of sins by knowing and believing in this Truth.
The Bible says, “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10). You are the righteous. Looking from the perspective of faith, all the people of the world are sinless. From God’s side, their sins have already been eliminated. But they continue to have sin in their hearts for not believing that. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God eliminated the sins of the world in order for people to obtain eternal life because He loves them. He has saved all people so that there would not be a single person who is doomed to receive judgment. But there are so many people who do not know this. There are many Christians today who do not know what the gospel of the water and the Spirit is. Therefore, they are still sinners everyday.
“For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come” (Matthew 11:13-14). You must now set your hearts on the fact that John the Baptist is Elijah to come, and believe that. John the Baptist is the representative of all mankind, the greatest man among those born to women, and the servant of God who is Elijah to come. Since John the Baptist, the representative of mankind, baptized Jesus and transferred all the sins of the world to Him, all people are able to receive the remission of their sins from that time forth. Jesus my Savior was baptized, received all my sins, received all the judgment for those sins and died on the Cross. He was resurrected on the third day from His death, and is now alive and hears my prayers. He eliminated all my sins. He took them all away. He made me a sinless person. Even though I am unfaithful like this and a person who commits sin until I die, He made me a sinless person.
This faith of mine is very real. That is because people who believe this fact in their hearts obtain salvation. And God already fulfilled all our salvation. This is God’s promise and His salvation. Whoever believes in this Word in his heart becomes one of the righteous and has the power to become God’s child. Therefore, I hope that you believe this in your hearts now. I hope that you take the Kingdom of Heaven by faith and become God’s children by faith.
God said that one does not become a righteous person by living virtuously. On the contrary, He said, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24). Now, you and I have become sinless people through the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Your and my sins have been remitted by faith by the work the Lord had done. I believe in my heart that my sins and the sins of the world went over to Jesus when He was baptized by John the Baptist. Do you believe in this with your hearts? There were sins as red as scarlet and darker than ink in your hearts. These sins went over to Jesus when He was baptized by John the Baptist. Jesus took all the sins you, I, and all the people of the whole world commit over our whole lives, and He eliminated the punishment of being cast into hell by being nailed to the Cross and dying.
We had sins in our hearts, but they all transferred over to Jesus head by way of John the Baptist’s arm through the baptism John the Baptist gave to Jesus. So, where are our sins now? They are on Jesus’ head. Sins were in your and my hearts before Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. But all the sins of the world went over to Jesus through John the Baptist’s arm when he laid his hands on the Head of Jesus. Accordingly, your sins have now become Jesus’ and not yours.
Brothers and sisters, Jesus, who was sinless, took all your and my sins, carried them to the Cross, shed His blood, and died there. In order to save us, a Person who had never committed sin was baptized and received the sins of the whole world. In order to pay that price, He received the punishment, suffering, and persecution of death. Since He took all our sins by being baptized, He had to be nailed to the Cross, pour out all the blood in His veins, and die. Jesus did not decline to lay down His life in order to save ours. That is how much He loved us. Jesus shedding His blood on the Cross was because He received the transference of your and my sins through baptism, and He died because of that.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). This means that we came to obtain eternal life by the grace of the Lord receiving, instead of us, the wages of sin, which is death. This was all possible because of the baptism of John the Baptist. That Jesus could say, “It is finished” (John 19:30), was also because He took charge of all sins through His baptism and fulfilled all righteousness.
Jesus was resurrected from the grave on the third day after His death. He awoke from the dead. The resurrected Jesus diligently witnessed of the work He did and of the gospel for 40 days. And He ascended to Heaven before the eyes of many people. While ascending, the Lord promised that He would return to this earth, saying, “I will so come in the same manner as you see Me go into Heaven.”
Our Lord saves people who believe in their hearts that the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence from the days of John the Baptist. He allows them to obtain salvation by faith in their hearts and nothing else. How do you intend to receive the remission of your sins? Can you do it by living virtuously? No, you can’t. No matter how many good things you do, you cannot eliminate even one tiny little sin of yours. You cannot do it by any meritorious deed.
Just as a Korean saying goes, “There is no loyal son when a man has a chronic illness.” No matter how much people recognize someone as a nice person, if he is given intolerable pain for a long time, he will give up and come to reveal his true sinful nature. No matter how much a person hides his true nature and ulterior motives, and wraps his outside appearance in holiness, man is a being that ultimately reveals his true nature when things get difficult. If you have even just one thing that is good, I hope you do not forget that you have a lot of evil parts behind it. Therefore, you need not be ashamed of your sinfulness. That is what man is.
Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and eliminated all the sins of you, me, and all mankind. If a person does not believe that John the Baptist baptized Jesus, that person believes in vain even if he believes in Jesus. The account of Jesus’ baptism is recorded in all of the Four Gospels. This fact is extremely important, and we must absolutely know it.
Brothers and sisters, I hope that you live by believing in your hearts according to what is recorded in the Word. For the Kingdom of Heaven to be yours for the first time, you must believe in Jesus’ love that eliminated all the sins of your hearts by His baptism, the Cross, and resurrection. You have no sins because Jesus the Savior cleansed them by the water and the blood. I hope that you surely believe this fact in your hearts. People who believe this are freed from all sins and have received salvation. This Truth is the Truth of the remission of all sins spoken of through the sacrificial system of the Tabernacle.
I am thankful to God who saved us who had many sins.