Are there Special Blessings attached to Baptism?
We have seen thus far, that Baptism is the process of being sealed with His Name in our foreheads. Scripture records another form whereby ‘God’s Name may be called over His People’:
“And YHVH spoke unto Moses saying, ‘Speak unto Aaron and his sons saying, ‘This is how you are to bless the People of Israel, you are to say to them:
YHVH will bless you and guard you
YHVH will make His Face shine (reveal Face) on/to you and be gracious unto you
YHVH will lift up His Face towards you and give you Shalom.
‘In this way they are to put My Name on the People of Israel, so that I will bless them.”
This Blessing is known as the Priestly Blessing. The Jewish Siddur has the following footnotes to this Scripture portion in the Book of Numbers:
“This simple and beautiful 3-fold Blessing is the Crown and Seal of the whole Sacred Order by which Israel was now fully organized as the ‘People of God’ for the March to the Holy Land. (Just as the Baptism ceremony identifies the individual returnee as ‘the People of God’ – editor, Bible Revelations). The Hebrew Text consists of 3 short verses, 3,5 and 7 words respectively. It mounts by gradual stages from the petition for material blessing and protection to that for Divine favour as a spiritual Blessing, and in beautiful climax culminates in the petition for God’s most consummate Gift, Shalom – Peace. These 15 words contain a world of trust and faith in God. It was one of the most impressive features of the Temple Service in Jerusalem.”
YHVH Bless you …with life, health, happiness, prosperity
and guard you …grant you His Divine protection against evil, sickness, poverty, calamity. protect you. He is the Guardian of Israel (Shomer Yisrael). He delivers our souls from death, keeps our eyes from tears, and our feet from stumbling. Rabbinic interpretation: ‘May God bless you with possessions and keep you from these possessions possessing you. May He shield you from all destructive influences that so often follow in the wake of prosperity’ – even spiritual prosperity which may cause pride and stubborn self contentment. Thus Blessing and Protection.
His Face to shine upon you … Light in Scripture and Truth is the symbol of happiness, purity and friendship. This term is the Biblical idiom for ‘to be friendly to one’. It implies the outpouring of Divine Love and Salvation. In contrast, there is the prayer: ‘Hide not Thy Face from me.”
…be gracious unto you … this is more than ‘guard you’. May He graciously fulfil your petition and pleas. The Rabbis understand it as ‘May He give you grace in the eyes of others, i.e. may He make you lovable and beloved – which will also make you beloved by God.
lift up His Face towards you … Turn His attention and loving Care to you; give you Shalom – establish Peace for you. Peace is the Seal of all Blessing (Talmud).
Shalom means: freedom from all disaster. It pertains to health, welfare, security, tranquillity. “The Peace which alone reconciles and strengthens, which calms us and clears our vision, which frees us from restlessness and from the bondage of unsatisfied desire which gives us the consciousness of attainment the consciousness of permanence even amid the transitoriness of ourselves and of outward things.” (Montefiore)
We are not only to be peaceful ourselves, but to help others to attain it also.
This Blessing seems to present an ideal conclusion to the Baptism. Baptism puts His Name on the ‘Returning Exile’ who confesses acceptance of Messiah’s Sacrifice and for being reconciled to the Eternal Covenant. The Priestly Blessing confirms this Sealing with His Name and pronounces His Blessings on the newly reconciled ‘Israelite’.
Do you have this true Shalom in your Life?
Only by complying with His requirements will we achieve this Peace.
Only by His Grace did He reconcile us (‘saved us’) through His Sacrificial Offer of His own Unblemished Life. Nothing that we could offer would remove His Decree of our Rejection for our discarding of His Covenant, not money, not repentance, nor even our life, neither conforming with His Law (Torah) however perfect we could.
But – now, by our acceptance of this Restoration by Grace, we are reconciled to His Covenant once more – we qualify for the Blessings Divinely decreed for ‘His People’. We literally become part of Israel (‘again’ – if we are of the Lost 10 Tribes to be re-identified; or ‘newly’ if we are not part). As ‘Israel’, we qualify for His Special Blessings. But this entails and vitally includes our acceptance of the Terms of His Covenant, i.e. Law Abidance (lest we want to face rejection once more).
Only by conforming with His Law and Requirements are we assured of His Special Blessings for Israel, His People (READ!!! Deuteronomy ch 27 & 28) Yes, He makes His sun to shine even over sinners – but He has Special Blessings for His People, Israel.
The Greatest thereof: Shalom! Peace – as defined above.
Peace is the Seal of all Blessing.
If you do not experience that Peace, start conforming!