Water baptism was a mandate under the law of Moses, and it symbolized cleansing from uncleanness, as one had to be ceremonially clean to enter the temple. Part of the requirement was that there be A witness with you, not to dunk you under the water, but to be able to testify, if asked, that every bit of you, even all of your hair, was completely immersed in the water.
But, being under the written law, which was physical, water baptism was a foreshadow of a later-revealed spiritual real substance, and Messiah Yahoshua demonstrated both the foreshadow and the real substance when He was baptized. He was first baptized in water (foreshadow), and then He received the Holy Spirit (real substance).
This is what John the Baptist explained about the physical foreshadow and the spiritual real substance: “I baptize you with water, but one who is more powerful than I am is coming. I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Now, the apostle John explained in 1 John 5:10 that those whom the Father sees as “believers” have THE Witness in them, which means that He sees those who don’t have THE witness in them as “unbelievers.” This has nothing to do with one’s personal agreement with, or assent to, spiritual truths (no matter how strongly one believes them), but that those who have had the “evidence” placed in them are His (“evidence” is the meaning of the Greek word that was translated as “witness”), and those who do not have the evidence are not His (Romans 8:9)
And, here, we see the correlation of “witness” and “evidence.” Where do we typically hear these terms? They are used in court proceedings—they are legal terms. So many christians are not even aware that salvation is a legal construct, it is a judicial decree. And, where will that court proceeding take place? It’s called “judgment.”
It is a judge who declares that someone is either guilty or not guilty. A defendant has no power to make that legal decree. Oh, a defendant can plead “not guilty,” but there is something necessary that will be used to do determine whether that is so, or not. It is EVIDENCE. And, who establishes what the evidence is? THE WITNESS.
So, the one in whom the Witness (evidence) has been placed will stand before the Judge at his judgment, and rather than having to plead “not guilty,” he has an Advocate (defense attorney) who will plead his case for him. But, there still needs to be evidence presented, and that is when the Witness will be called.
The Witness, who indwells the one who is truly born again, will come forth, and He will testify that the defendant was completely immersed in Messiah’s righteousness—that every bit of Messiah’s righteousness was imputed to him, not by his works, but because he believed and was then justified because of that faith—he received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Judge will then declare the defendant “Not guilty!”
Those who do not have the indwelling Witness (even those who claim they do because of a decision they made, or a prayer they prayed) do not have an Advocate before the Judge, so they will be left to defend themselves (which is self-justification). And, who will testify about them? What will their “evidence” be? It will be those who presented the truths of the Holy Spirit to them, and they will be shown all the times they rejected those truths. They will then be declared “Guilty,” and sentenced to eternal punishment.
So, if you were baptized in water in front of people after you made a decision to be saved (something that a person does not have the power to do), then your witnesses were not THE WITNESS, and without THE WITNESS, you will be found guilty.
The commission given to Messiah’s disciples was not to dunk people in water, which was a symbol, just like animal sacrifice and the ten commandments, but to spiritually reproduce—to share the EVIDENCE in them with others, who would then receive the Witness after their belief in Messiah Yahoshua and confession of Him before others.
So much of christianity, which is a counterfeit of the true faith, teaches a counterfeit of the real substance of baptism, and claims that it is a public declaration of salvation, when baptism IS salvation itself—it is to be immersed fully in Messiah’s righteousness by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
And, the one who receives that baptism is confirmed to be a child of Yah, not by written words in a book, nor by physical water, but by the evidence of the Holy Spirit—a direct and personal testimony from the Holy Spirit to the believer that he has been eternally adopted as a child of the Most High God.
Christianity largely makes man the one who declares his own salvation (by decision), and then makes water and scripture the confirmation of it. Every bit of that is a counterfeit of salvation, which is decided by the Father and declared by the Holy Spirit, and comes after belief in, and public confession of, Yah’s Son Yahoshua.
DO NOT go to your judgment without the necessary evidence that is placed within those who are truly saved—those who have been baptized by the Holy Spirit, who is the real substance of baptism.
For more information: Christianity’s Holy Spirit–Some Water and a Book