I would have to say that it was a ritual that was performed at that time. But I hadn't ran across that before, at least not that I recognized. What does it say to us now? Might mean another discussion around baptism and I'm not finished researching the first one!
I think a proper understanding hinges on the word we translate as baptized. Another understanding of this word as used in the LXX is ritual washing. The Jewish people today continue an echo of this ancient practice.
If the text is speaking of ritual washing rather than baptism perhaps the meaning is along the line of, "If the dead will not be raised, then what point is there to our ritual washing, purification (which at the core is a focus on life). Why do it unless the dead will someday rise again." In other words...if the dead were not going to be raised then the followers of Jesus would more likely be like those pagans who are overzealous in their attention to and even worship the dead.After the funeral, those in attendence wash their hands. This is symbolic of the ancient custom of purification, performed after contact with the dead. It emphasizes the Jews constant concern with life, its value and dignity, rather than overzealous attention to, and worship of, the dead.http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...229/judaism101
If the word truly is to be translated baptized I'm in the dark as to its meaning.
"I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places...You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew... You'll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again." Isaiah 58:11-12 (THE MESSAGE)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmN6qvJe4eU new for 2013
I don't have anything to add personally to this subject but it actually came up in a local newspaper in the letters to the editor section recently. It seems the Mormons continue the practice of being baptized for the dead.
This letter purports to give the reasons they do so:Here is another's response, probably less informed than Cynthia's:Jerrie Crook asks why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does proxy baptisms. It is referenced in 1 Corinthians 15:29: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” Jesus Christ atoned for all our sins, and we may accept or reject his sacrifice. He also commands baptism for our salvation (Mark 16:16 and John 3:5). While his body was in the tomb, Jesus taught his gospel in the spirit world (1 Peter 3:18-20 and 4:6). These spirits could not be baptized except by proxy, binding only when they chose to accept this ordinance performed for them by the living.
Millions have died without hearing of Christ, but in God’s plan all will hear the fullness of his gospel in the spirit world before their resurrection and judgment. Many others believed in Christ but died without proper baptism. Jesus gave priesthood authority to perform the ordinances of salvation for both the living and the dead to Peter and the other apostles (Matthew 16:19); whatever they sealed on earth would be sealed in heaven.
We exercise this sealing power in our temples today, not only with proxy baptisms but in sealing husbands, wives and children as families for eternity. This must be done before the resurrection, by the living acting either for themselves or as proxies for deceased individuals and families.
If one accepts that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins (acting as proxy for each of us), he can also direct his church to provide required ordinances of salvation by proxy for those who had no chance to receive them during mortality. This doctrine is biblical, illustrating the fairness, uniformity and completeness of Jesus Christ’s full plan of salvation.
Kathy Perrine’s letter, “Here’s why we do this,” on March 19, 2012, is a graphic example of some of the numerous differences between biblical Christianity and Mormonism. Much could be said about these differences, but I will limit my comments to the two Bible verses she quoted.
First, to use John 3:5 as proof that everyone must be baptized to enter heaven is a gross misinterpretation of that verse. In John 3, Jesus explains to Nicodemus that he must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God.
The word water in verse 5 refers to the first or natural birth (babies develop in amniotic fluid) of every human being: the second birth is by the Spirit of God through faith in the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross for our sins. Jesus continues in verse 6, saying, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh (natural birth), and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (second birth). There is nothing in that verse about baptism.
In I Corinthians 15, the Apostle Paul is addressing a false belief in the Corinthian church that there is no resurrection of the dead (verse 12). In the next several verses, he argues from several points of view to prove that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and because he rose from the dead, we can be confident of being resurrected as well. One of his final arguments is in verse 29, where he says even the pagans (notice the verse says they, not we) believe in resurrection; if they didn’t, why would they practice baptizing for the dead.
Baptizing for the dead was, and still is, a pagan practice, and has nothing to do with biblical Christianity or salvation. There is zero evidence in the New Testament to support baptism of the dead.
The Bible makes it very clear that we only have opportunity to secure our entrance into heaven while we are alive, through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ’s shed blood, death and resurrection. Our death seals our eternal destiny. Hebrews 9:27 says, “… it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” Baptism for the dead changes nothing.
So, believe in baptism for the dead if you choose, but don’t confuse people by implying that this is a Christian doctrine or practice.
I have been in a Mormon service where people brought in picture of their dead love one to be baptist.
While Mormon baptisms of converts are conducted in many settings, vicarious baptisms are only conducted in temples by members in good standing. Once a temple is consecrated or dedicated it can only be entered by members who have the appropriate credentials issued by their bishop.
Vicarious baptism is one of the principal reasons that the Mormon Church is a major souirce of geneological information. Ancestry. com, a leading geneological resource, is reputedly owned by the church.
The church only recently agreed to stop the practice of allowing its members to be vicariously baptized for Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
For Paul and the majority of the NT, as well as the majority of the Church's history, Baptism is the means of grace by which we move from death to life, from the World to the Body of Christ. It was the means of grace by which our former body of sin was put to death and we were raised to newness of life in the power of Christ's resurrection.
Thus, when reading this passage we have to place it first in the context of Paul's argument in 1 Corinthians 15:
It is only if Christ is raised from the dead and we have been joined to this that we have any hope of being freed from our sins and of living again in Christ. Thus, those who are baptized on the part of the dead seem to have this hope for those whom they are baptized for. If the dead are not raised again in Christ, and freed from their sins, through baptism, then why would people be baptized on the part of the dead?Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For ‘God has put all things in subjection under his feet.’ But when it says, ‘All things are put in subjection’, it is plain that this does not include the one who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.
Otherwise, what will those people do who receive baptism on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?
And why are we putting ourselves in danger every hour? I die every day! That is as certain, brothers and sisters, as my boasting of you—a boast that I make in Christ Jesus our Lord. If with merely human hopes I fought with wild animals at Ephesus, what would I have gained by it? If the dead are not raised,
‘Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.’
Do not be deceived:
‘Bad company ruins good morals.’
Come to a sober and right mind, and sin no more; for some people have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.
For me, this fits perfectly within Paul's belief of God's sovereignty over salvation and our participation in the salvific work of Christ on the cross. God justifies the ungodly and it does not depend on the work or willing of any human being but on God who is merciful. However, the paradox is that this happens through our participation in this work God is doing.
Thus, those being baptised for the dead participate on behalf of the deceased, and God is the God who can - and very well may - save the deceased without their having done anything, because of the faith of 1) those who love them and 2) the Body of Christ. This is the same thing the Church professed (and still does in most circles) about Infant Baptism. It is God who saves, even apart from any faith on the part of the infant, and the Church is faithful to participate in this faith on behalf of the one being baptized who has done nothing and knows nothing of the faith.
Fear not those who argue but those who dodge. -- Marie von Ebner-EschenbachPost Thanks / Like - 1 Thanks, 0 LaughingCynthia Prentice - "thanks" for this post