´¯`•. January 12, 2017

Troublesome Verses

I have had to put off doing the second half of 1 Corinthians 15, because of six troublesome verses:

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?  And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?  I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.  If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.  Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.  Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.  – 1 Corinthians 15:29-34

This may seem very confusing… and that’s because it *IS* very confusing.  First, what is meant by ‘being baptized for the dead’?  Second, can you even DO that?!  Third, does Paul condone this practice or not…?… it doesn’t say, does it?

Further, how does his ‘dying daily’ relate to this ‘baptism of the dead’?  Because these verses are not related to the sections above or below it, so they must relate to each other, right?  More than just ‘dying daily’, we also have him ‘fighting with beasts at Ephesus’… what the HECK is that about, and why is that also referenced in relation to ‘baptism of the dead’?

And as if that weren’t enough, then we have ‘evil communications corrupt good manners’… which is like a warning about the above, but NONE of it seems to make any sense.

I stupidly went to my usual sources (christian commentaries) to try to find an answer from people who are experts at making shit up and/or playing the guessing game.  Almost all of them said that ‘being baptized for the dead’ is in reference to a practice of that time – that people who died without being baptized could have that taken care of for them, by a yet-living family member.

WHICH. IS. STUPID.  First, baptism has NOTHING to do with salvation.  You can belong to Yehovah and spend eternity with Christ without being baptized.  Baptism is just an outward symbol/sign, an action we do to show our inner stance where Messiah is concerned.  It’s not mandatory, so this explanation of people having to do this?  It doesn’t wash.  Because Paul is arguing that there has to be a resurrection, or that would be in vain, and Paul would NEVER make baptism a mandatory thing – it’d contradict scripture in so many places, I can’t even reference them here.

Other commentaries said, ‘This passage is too difficult, there are as many explanations as there are people trying to explain it.  Just move on.’  Isn’t that typical of a christian.  (((Pah.)))

But then I read John Gill’s commentary… and finally something made sense!  And naturally?  It’s because he goes back and references Torah, and finds out the Hebraic applications of things.  Christianity will NEVER make sense, rejecting Torah.  It. Just. Won’t.  Take a look a this:

The apostle here… makes use of new arguments to prove the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, and reasons for it from the baptism of some persons; but what is his sense, is not easy to be understood, or what rite and custom, or thing, or action he refers to; which must, be either Jewish baptism, or Christian baptism literally taken, or baptism in a figurative and metaphorical sense.

Some think that he refers to some one or other of the divers baptisms of the Jews; see ( Hebrews 9:10 ) and particularly to the purification of such who had touched a dead body, which was done both by the ashes of the red heifer burnt, and by bathing himself in water; and which, the Jews say intimated (Mytmh) (tyyxtl) , “the resurrection of the dead”: wherefore such a right was needless, if there is no resurrection; to strengthen this sense, a passage in Ecclesiasticus 34:25 is produced, “he that washeth himself after the touching of a dead body, if he touch it again, what availeth his washing?

…It is also observed, that the Jews, as well as other nations, have used various rites and ceremonies about their dead, and among the rest, the washing of dead bodies before interment; see ( Acts 9:37 ) and this by some is thought to be what is here referred to; and the reasoning is, if there is no resurrection of the dead, why all this care of a dead body? why this washing of it? it may as well be put into the earth as it is, since it will rise no more; but how this can be called a baptism for the dead, I see not:

Christian… interpreters go different ways: some think the apostle has in view a custom of some, who when their friends died without baptism, used to be baptized in their room; this is said to be practised by the Marcionites in Tertullian’s time, and by the Corinthians in the times of the Apostle John; but it does not appear to have been in use in the times of the Apostle Paul; and besides, if it had been, as it was a vain and superstitious one, he would never have mentioned it without a censure, and much less have argued from it; nor would his argument be of any weight, since it might be retorted, that whereas such persons were mistaken in using such a practice, they might be also in the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead:

Others are of opinion that such persons are intended, called Clinics, who deferred their baptism till they came upon their death beds, and then had it administered to them; but as this practice was not in being in the apostle’s time, and was far from being a laudable one;

…Others would have the meaning to be, that they were baptized for their dead works, their sins, to wash them away; but this baptism does not of itself, and no otherwise than by leading the faith of persons to the blood of Christ, which alone cleanses from sin, original and actual; nor is this appropriate to the apostle’s argument.

Others imagine, that he intends such as were baptized, and added to the church, and so filled up the places of them that were dead; but the reason from hence proving the resurrection of the dead is not very obvious:

Those seem to be nearer the truth of the matter, who suppose that the apostle has respect to the original practice of making a confession of faith before baptism …that baptism performed by immersion, as it was universally in those early times, was a lively emblem and representation of the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and also both of the spiritual and corporeal resurrection of the saints. Now if there is no resurrection, why is such a symbol used?

…I see nothing of moment to be objected to these two last senses, which may be easily put together, but this; that the apostle seems to point out something that was done or endured by some Christians only; whereas baptism, upon a profession of faith in Christ, and the resurrection from the dead, and performed by immersion, as an emblem of it, was common to all; and therefore he would rather have said, what shall we do, or we all do, who are baptized for the dead?

This is kinda funny.  Because he *touches* the Truth, but because he’s a christian, he has to revert away from it, and call it ‘something that was done’, at the end, instead of claiming the Hebraic practice that he’d applied to it at the beginning.  Ah, but that practice explains it!  The original Christians were Torah-observant, only from a Messianic slant, so they would keep the Law (as prescribed by Paul, himself), but with an eye on it’s having been fulfilled or having additional fulfillments applicable to themselves.

So in these verses, we have Paul asking why Yehovah would have us bother washing/purifying (or ‘baptising’) the dead if they’re just going to wither away, anyhow.  The answer is, because it’s a representation of what happens to people after they die – there will be a resurrection, where we are changed, make immortal and incorruptible.

YES!  Now that makes sense.

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