Water Baptism - The Leper - FOR Thy Cleansing

The leper in Luke 5 was healed because of his faith. However, Jesus told him to submit to the washing of the Law for or in order to his spiritual atonement. Healing is not salvation. Speaking in tongues while overwhelmed with the Mind of Christ is not salvation. Simple belief is not salvation. Salvation is by "faith only" where faith is defined as the Christian system as opposed to the system of law.

See Naaman and 2 Kings 5

Those who teach a salvation or "good spiritual health" teach that God selects certain people to be saved. To prove it the Holy Spirit as a "person" moves into the body and gives the pre-selected person the faith to be saved.

This is why Scripture is distorted to mean what no version is translated to mean:

Explanation from the web to refute baptism: It is also commonly believed, because of faulty teaching, that the word "for" as used in Acts 2:38 MUST mean "in order to obtain." However, this is NOT true either! In LUKE 5:13,14 we read of a leper who was immediately healed when Jesus touched him and spoke. After his healing, Jesus told him, "... go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer FOR thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them." Notice: the man ALREADY HAD his cleansing from leprosy when Jesus told him to go to the priest and bring an offering "FOR THY CLEANSING." If you tried to substitute "in order to obtain" in place of the word "for" in Lk. 5:13,14 it would NOT fit!

"Similarly, the common remedy, "take two aspirins FOR a headache," refutes the idea that "for" MUST mean "in order to obtain." (No one would take two aspirins "in order to obtain" a headache!). If the doctor says, "Take two aspirins for your headache" he really means "take two aspirins for your cure."

Answer: This is not precision english. We never take aspirins for a headace (in order to get) but we take them for a cure. A headache is not the cure. Sin is the headache: aspirin or baptism is the cure. Therefore, the correct way to look at this is:

"Take two aspirins for your cure" or

"Take two aspirins for the remission of your headache."

Another proof text from the web: "While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him. Then Jesus ordered him, "Don't tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded FOR thy cleansing, as a testimony to them." Luke 5: 12-14

"...show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded FOR [in order to?, or because of?] thy cleansing, as a testimony to them." It should be noted that the leper was healed before he offered a sacrifice. The offering was "for thy cleansing" or because of - not to obtain it, but a formal declaration in ceremony that it has already happened and testimony to what God has done.

However, this man's physical healing caused the spots to "go off" or "fly off" his body. Physical healing is not spiritual salvation. The leper was told to submit to the equivalent of baptism and make sacrifices for or in order to his spiritual atonement.

Let's begin by saying that physical healing has nothing to do with salvation in the New Testament kingdom or church:

Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: Mt 11:4

The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up,

and the poor (cringing) have the gospel preached to them. Mt 11:5

Conclusion: healing is for a sign of the Divinity of Christ. The gospel is preached to them for their spiritual cleansing.

External manifestations such as speaking in tongues or some other physical, bodily phenomena does not heal the soul. To depend upon it may be legalistic. And to depend upon faith is to place ones confidence in ones own belief and not in Jesus Christ. This trust in faith is trust that one has been predestinated to be saved, can do nothing to be saved and can do nothing to be lost -- just a zombie.

Before looking at the New Testament Leper, it is important that Jesus pointed the leper to the Law of Moses. Under the law there are several examples of the healing of lepers. For instance, look at-

Naaman the Leper Click for more

Under the law, Naaman the leper wanted to do some great work to earn his cleansing. This would be something others could see or hear and judge that he had earned his salvation. However, God told him to do something against logic and human pride: go wash your body in water which has no healing power like your own rivers and you will be healed by God. Now, Naaman already had faith that the prophet could heal him but faith only had no value:

And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. 2Ki 5:10

But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. 2Ki 5:11

Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. 2Ki 5:12

And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing (for your healing), wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? 2Ki 5:13

Naaman took "ten talents of silver, and six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing." He had total faith in the promise of healing and he intended to impress the prophet with money and his privileged position. Perhaps he believed that he was chosen of God and he could be cleansed without the application of literal, humiliating water.

Jesus and the Leper's "Baptism"

And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy; who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. Lk 5:12

The man believed but his skin was not healed. It took the contact of the hand of Jesus purely out of compassion to affect his physical healing. I don't know of anyone who has that power and therefore there is no need for supernatural signs to prove ones mission if it is based upon faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed (went off) from him. Lk 5:13

And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. Mk 1:41

Katharizo (g2511) kath-ar-id'-zo; to cleanse (lit. or fig.): - (make) clean (-se), purge, purify.

Any scaly skin condition might be called leprosy. This man's condition was sores or scales over his body. Because they were obvious blemishes he could not go to the temple. When Jesus touched the man the scales simply "went off" his body. This had nothing to do with the forgiveness of sins or salvation.

This leper would be cut off from a relationship with the Lord. For example, when Uzziah presumed to offer incense in the sanctuary he was chastized and as a result leprosy rose up in his forehead:

And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several (hospital) house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the Lord: and Jotham his son was over the kings house, judging the people of the land. 2Chr.26:21

Only after lepers were clear of any signs of the disease could they go to the priests to be brought back into relationship with Israel and God. He had to display his physical healing as a testimony to the priests or to satisfy the priest that he was physically clean of the disease. Therefore, Jesus commanded that the leper follow the law:

And he charged him to tell no man: But go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. Lk 5:14

And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. Mk 1:44

The man had been cleansed of the skin condition. In order to be in covenant relationship with God under the Law of Moses he had to be washed for or in order to his spiritual atonement.

Before he washed and was cleansed, the man had to make an offering. This allowed him to be cleansed which is not the same as the instantaneous cleansing of the leper's skin by Jesus. It is:

Cleansing is: Katharismos (g2512) kath-ar-is-mos'; from 2511; a washing off, i.e. (cer.) ablution, (mor.) expiation: - cleansing, / purge, purification, (-fying).

And John also was baptizing (Baptizo) in enon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. Jn 3:23

Then there arose a question between some of Johns disciples and the Jews about purifying (Katharismos). Jn 3:25

This carries the same meaning of baptism for the remission of sins:

Baptizo (g907) bap-tid'-zo; from a der. of 911; to make whelmed (i.e. fully wet); used only (in the N.T.) of ceremonial ablution, espec. (techn.) of the ordinance of Chr. baptism: - baptist, baptize, wash.

Jesus healed the man's skin (Katharizo) but He directed Him to the Law of Moses for cleansing or (Katharismos). Therefore, His command to offer for thy cleansing is the same as baptize for remission or purifying.

The leper lived under the law. The difference now is that believers must be baptized according to the commandment of Jesus for spiritual cleansing and not according to the law of Moses.

Peter reminded us that:

But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 2Pe.1:9

This is the same purging the Leper was to undergo which was a form of baptism.

The man obviously was not saved because he immediately disobeyed Jesus. By refusing to obey and receive atonement after the washing the man actually hindered the work of Jesus.

But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter. Mk 1:45

But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. Lk 5:15

The leprosy left the man because Christ healed him. He had his body healed but he was not religiously pure. By looking where Jesus pointed we can understand how the leper could be restored to spiritual purity. Only then could he enter into spiritual with God. This involved a form of putting away all of the signs of defilement, baptism and an offering for or in order to religious cleansing.

While the shadow is not directly paralled in the New Covenant, the symbolism is clear. The man washed his body in water and he was physically clean. However, it was the priest (Jesus Christ) in the Temple (Heaven itself) who took his sacrifice and made atonement before the Lord. Did the water atone for his sins? No. But what if the man has said: "Oh, we reject water regeneration and we will just skip the bath for the body?" Would the priest honor his sacrifice? No. However wise it seemed to the leper, he would have been outside the God-ordained "kingdom" for that time.

Look at the Process:

After the leper's body has been cleared of the external skin problems Jesus told him to do what all Jews had to do for or in order to their cleansing. Early baptizers insisted that the candidate be naked. This would be much like the leper: he has taken off every thing which might hide sores or physical blemishes. He has confessed his sins and repented of his sins and has turned away from them and gone as far as he can go. However, even then the water does not atone for his sins. Only the blood of Christ can do that:

But it shall be on the seventh day, that he shall shave all his hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shall shave off: and he shall wash his clothes, also he shall wash his flesh in water, and he shall be clean. Lev 14:9

Therefore, when Jesus said "for thy cleansing" Moses said "wash and ye shall be clean."

In a figurative sense, when one has taken off the "old clothing" and been buried in the waters which Christ commanded, the person comes face-to-face with the one he lamb Who was offered for us. Only by being in Christ does He as high priest make an atonement before the Lord.

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 10:32

And on the eighth day he shall take two he lambs without blemish, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth deals of fine flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil. Lev 14:10

And the priest that maketh him clean shall present the man that is to be made clean, and those things, before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: Lev 14:11

And the priest shall take one he lamb, and offer him for a trespass offering, and the log of oil, and wave them for a wave offering before the Lord: Lev 14:12

And the remnant of the oil that is in the priests hand he shall pour upon the head of him that is to be cleansed: and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord. Lev 14:18

Atonement is: Kaphar (h3722) kaw-far'; a prim. root; to cover (spec. with bitumen); fig. to expiate or condone, to placate or cancel: - appease, make (an) atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, be merciful, pacify, pardon, purge (away), put off, (make) reconcile (-liation).

And he shall offer the second for a burnt offering, according to the manner: and the priest shall make an atonement for him for his sin which he hath sinned, and it shall be forgiven him. Le.5:10

All of these types have been fulfilled in Christ Who offered the once-for-all sacrifice.

The Parallel to Confession

As Christ confesses us before God when we are baptized, the leper having undergone a type of baptism then presented himself to the priest as a witness or confession that the old man was gone and the new, purified man was ready to accept atonement:

And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. Mk 1:44

The testimony is from the Greek and means that the Leper had to do what Moses commanded before his actions could be a clear testimony:

Martus (g3144) mar'-toos; of uncert. affin.; a witness (lit. [judicially] or fig. [gen.]); by anal. a "martyr": - martyr, record, witness.

The apostles were "eye-witnesses." We are secondary witnesses when we martyr the old man of sin and are buried with Christ in baptism. After baptism we are said to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit or a changed and holy life as a witness that we have confessed Christ:

And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. Ac.5:32

There is only one time the Holy Spirit or the Mind of Christ (1 Cor 2) is said to be given as a result of obedience to what the Holy Spirit has revealed as "spirit and life" in the Word (Jn 6:63). That gift comes after baptism:

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Ac 2:38

The so-called "baptismal formula" is now a place for arrogant men to lay one hand on the candidate and point the other at God and claim to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. This may cheat the candidate from naming or confessing Christ as baptism. Jesus said:

Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: Lu 12:8

But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. Lu.12:9

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Lu 15:7

When the Spirit (of Christ) spoke to Philip and sent him to preach to the Ethiopian Eunuch who was reading about the "lamb" dumb before his shearer. Beginning with this passage Philip "preached Jesus" unto him. You see, you cannot preach Jesus without preaching baptism because:

And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? Ac 8:36

And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Ac 8:37

No formula. They both went down into the water. Philip baptized the eunuch. They both came up out of the water (8:38) They descended into the water.

From history we know that when one confessed a master they named the name:

"At the latter ceremony two disciples of the wise stood by to tell him more of the light and heavy commandments. When he came up after the immersion, those assembled addressed him saying: 'Unto whom has thou given thyself? blessed art thou, thou hast given thyself to God; the world was created for the sake of Israel, and only Israelites are called the children of God... After his baptism he was considered (reckoned to be dead and now alive) to be a new man, 'a little child newly born'; a new name was given him." (Int Std Bible Ency, Proselyte).

"The effect of this baptism was held to be complete regeneration; he was born anew. He was called a little child just born, the child of one day. All his sins were remitted because God cannot punish sins committed before he was born." (Barclay, William, Romans, p. 84)

But, it is protested: "This was the Old Law and we aren't under that Law any more." That is correct but the Leper was and Jesus would not command him to violate one jot or tittle of the Law until it had been "filled full" with spiritual meaning.

By the rituals and ceremonies of the old Tabernacle shows that the way into the True Tabernacle (in heaven but represented on earth by the believer) was not available until Christ took His blood into the True Holy Place:

The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: He 9:8

Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; He 9:9

Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings (baptismos), and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. He 9:10

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; He 9:11

The leper was healed of his skin scales miraculously. Jesus spoke and the spots flew off. However, the leper was under the blood of bulls and goats. In order to be atoned for (at-one-ment with God), the man had to go beyond belief to purging himself of sin (repentance), have his body washed with pure water (the bath was prescribed by volume), he was to go to the priest to confess and claim the merit of the shed blood.

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. He 9:12

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: He 9:13

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? He 9:14

And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for (in order to) the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. He 9:15

By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; He 10:20

Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1Pe 3:21

The Old Testament washing brought atonement between the worshiper and God. However, the next time he sinned his conscience was under bondage and he had to go sacrifice and get washed again. The difference with Christ is that He offered a once-for-all sacrifice to purchase our atonement. And we submit to the washing as the time and place where we ask for and receive the clear conscience. This relieves us of the misery of ceremonial leagalism in attempts to find the lost God and feel good again.

The faith which saves is the faith of Christ. Faith stands for the Christian system as Law stands for the dispensation of bulls and goats. We have that faith when we believe and follow Christ into the bath:

But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. Gal 3:22

But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Gal 3:23

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Gal 3:24

But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. Gal 3:25


For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:26


For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Gal 3:27

The Greek Eis can mean in order to or because of depending upon which end of the act we are looking. For instance, we can look at verse 27 from both ends:

Obedience: You have put on Christ because you have been baptized

Because: as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Gal 3:27

Command: Every believer be baptized in order to put on Christ

In order to: as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Gal 3:27

Only by being baptized into Christ's body or "clothing" is there a spirit of oneness or unity so that the old walls are broken down inside the body:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal3:28

The Spirit or Mind of Christ gives everyone different abilities. These are to be used to minister to the body and prove that the body has the "spirit of oneness."

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 1Co.12:13

Pneuma (g4151) in addition to Christ the Spirit, means a spirit, i.e. (human) the rational soul, (by impl.) vital principle, mental disposition.

We are buried or overwhelmed by a spirit of unity by being baptized into the one body. Thereafter, both Jew and Gentile can take of the water of life freely, drink and be filled.

Under Law which could not save

The blood of bulls and goats could not save.

The washing was often a token washing. At times things were purified by simply sprinkling blood on them.

Under the Faith (system) which could can save

Jesus performed the literal baptism and literally shed his blood.

His blood can save.

To accept that sacrifice our bodies are completely immersed or "overwhelmed" with water. This is the time and place where we confess Christ before men so that He will confess us in heaven. Because the Lamb is gone into heaven, baptism is the time and place where we ask Him for the atonement available only through the blood.

A Baptismal Liturgy 4Q414 Dead Sea Scrolls:

Frag. 2 Col. l 1[ . . . And he shall] say [in response,] "Blessed 2 [are You, . . . ] The unclean for the festivals of 3 [ . . . ] Your [ . . . ] and to make atonement for us 4 [ . . . to be] pure before you 3 [ . . . ] in every matter 6 [ . . . ] to purify oneself prior to 7 [ . . . ]. You made us [ . . . ]

Frags. 2 + 3 Col. 2 1 And you shal1 clean[se him for Your holy statutes . . . ] 2 for the first, [the third and the sixth . . . ] 3i n the truth of Your covenant [ . . . ] 4to cleanse oneself from uncleanness [ . . . ] 5 and then he shal1 enter the water [ . . . ] 6And he shall say in response, "Blessed are Y[ou . . . ] 7 for from what comes out of your mouth [ . . . ] 8men of impurity [ . . . ]

Frag. 10 1s[ou]l [ . . . ] 2 he is [ . . . ] 3to Yourself as a pu[re] people [ . . . ] 4 And I also [ . . . ] 5 the day which [ . . . ] 6 in the times of purity [ . . . ] 7 the Yahad. [ . . . ] 8 in Israel's pure food [ . . . ] 9 [and] they shall dwell [ . . . ] 10 And it will happen on [shag day [ . . . ] 11 a female and she will give thanks [ . . . ]

Frag. 12 1 For You made me [ . . . ] 2 Your will is that we cleanse ourselves befo[re . . . ] 3 and he established for himself a statute of atonement [ . . . ] 4 and to be in rig[hteous] purity Sand he shall ba[t]he in water and sprinkle up[on . . . ] 6 [ . . . ] And then they return from the w[ater . . . ] 7 cleansing His people in the waters of bathing [ . . . ] 8 second time upon his station. And he shall [say] in re[sponse, "Blessed are You, . . . ] 9 [ . . . ] Your purlfication in Your glory [ . . . ] 10 [ . . . ] eternally. And today [ . . . ]

Kenneth Sublett
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