Paul C. Jong, founder of The New Life Mission, teaches that in order to be saved a man must believe in Jesus’ baptism and in His death on the cross. Here is what he wrote: ‘To be saved from all our sins, we must believe in the gospel that states that John the Baptist passed all sins onto Jesus through the means of baptism. …. In order to be redeemed of all our sins, we have to believe in His baptism, through which John the Baptist passed all the sins of the world onto Jesus and the Cross…’ (Have you truly been born again of water and the Spirit?, e-book, page 229). However, it is important to note that when Jong affirms that John passed all sins onto Jesus ‘through the means of baptism’ he means that this happened through the laying on of the hands of John: ‘John the Baptist passed the sins of the world onto Jesus for our salvation when he laid his hands on Jesus’ head’ (from their website: http://bjnewlife.org). Jong explains us that baptism ‘means ‘to pass on to, to be buried, to be washed’ — the same as ‘the laying on of hands’ in the Old Testament’ (Ibid.,). In other words, John baptized Jesus by laying his hands on the head of Jesus.
At this point, in order to help you understand why Jong attaches so much importance to this alleged laying on of hands which took place at the Jordan river, it is necessary to say that according to Jong, John the Baptist was predestined by God to be the last High Priest because the Old Testament ended when Jesus Christ was born. The Bible, according to Jong, confirms the priesthood of John for it says that he was a descendant of Aaron the High Priest (since Zechariah, the father of John, was of the division of Abijah – Luke 1:5). And since according to the law of Moses, when the High Priest made atonement for the sins of the Israelites he had to lay his hands on the head of the live goat to put all their sins upon its head, so John the Baptist had to lay his hands on Jesus to put all the sins of the world on him. Here are the words of Jong: “Before the people, Aaron laid his hands on the second goat and confessed before God. “Lord, the people of Israel have committed murder, adultery, theft, covetousness, deceit…and they have bowed before idols. They have not kept the Sabbath holy, they have called Your name in vain, and they have broken all the articles of Your Laws and commandments.” Then he took away his hands. With this, all the sins of the people for the whole year were passed on to the sin offering. Let’s read Leviticus 16:21. “And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man.” The scapegoat would then wander around in the wilderness and die with the sins of the people of Israel on its head. The scapegoat, “Azazel” in Hebrew, means “to put out.” It means that the sin offering was cast out before the Lord, for all the people of Israel. Now, the sins of Israel were passed on to the scapegoat through the laying on of Aaron’s hands. In this way the Israelites were forgiven for their sins. When they saw the high priest laying his hands on the goat and saw it led into the wilderness, all the people of Israel who believed in the ritual of atonement were sure of the atonement for their sins. All the rituals of the Old Testament were the shadow of ‘the gospel of the being born again’ of the New Testament. In the Old Testament, the laying on of hands and the blood of the sacrifice was the gospel of salvation from sin. It remained basically the same in the New Testament’ (Ibid.,). Therefore, since the laying on of the hands of the High Priest was part of the ritual of the day of atonement through which the Israelites were forgiven, the laying on of the hands of John the Baptist is an essential part of the atonement God provided through Jesus Christ. For Jong affirms that ‘Jesus was baptized to wash away all the sins of mankind’ and that God sent ‘His own Son Jesus to this world to wash away all sins through His baptism by John the Baptist and His death at the Cross’. Therefore, anyone who wants to be saved from his sins must believe in Jesus’ baptism and His death on the cross: ‘True faith is to believe that Jesus Christ completely cleansed us of all our sins when He was baptized; it is to believe that He took the judgment for all our sins at the Cross. We have to believe in the righteous salvation of God. God loved man so much that He saved us through the baptism of Jesus and His blood at the Cross. When we believe in this gospel, we are saved from all our sins, freed from judgment and become righteous before God’ (Ibid.,). There is no salvation outside the gospel of the baptism of Jesus which is preached by Paul Jong: ‘If we don’t believe in the redemption of the baptism and the blood of Jesus, we are still sinners and not saved, no matter how faithfully we attend church …. Therefore, the belief in the baptism of Jesus and the blood on the Cross is a must for our salvation. We must believe in the water and the blood.’ (Have you truly been born again of water and the Spirit?, e-book, page 436, 442-443).
It is true that on the Day of atonement the high priest had to lay his hands on the live goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat and he had to confess over it all the sins of the Israelites and then that goat was sent into the desert as a scapegoat, for it is written: “And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness” (Leviticus 16:20-22); and it is also true that this foreshadowed the fact that one day the Lamb of God would bear all our iniquities. But it is also true that on that day the High Priest did not have to lay his hands on the head of the other goat which was to be offered to make atonement for the sins of the Israelites (for on that day the High Priest had to take two male goats for a sin offering), nor did he have to confess over it the sins of the Israelites. For it is written: “Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat” (Leviticus 16:15). Therefore, the High Priest had to lay his hands on the head of the live goat alone, and he had to confess the sins of the Israelites over the live goat alone, yet the other goat also was used for making atonement for the sins of the people of Israel and foreshadowed the atonement that Christ would make, even though the High Priest did not have to lay his hands on its head nor confess over it the sins of the Israelites. And keep in mind that the first goat (that is, the one whose lot fell to the Lord) had to be slaughtered, offered upon the altar, and its blood had to be taken behind the curtain into the Most Holy Place, while the second goat (the one chosen by lot as the scapegoat) was not slaughtered but it was sent into the desert. However, even though there was this difference in the ritual of the day of atonement, we are sure that the second goat also foreshadowed the Christ who would bear all our iniquities in His own body. I have said these things to show that the first goat also was used for making atonement for the sins of the people, even though the Scripture does not say that the High Priest had to lay his hands on it or that he had to confess over it the sins of the Israelites.
How were our iniquities to be passed onto Jesus then? How was Jesus to take on Himself our sins? Maybe through the laying on of the hands of a High Priest and the confession of all our sins made over him by this High Priest? Not at all. Furthermore, even if we grant for the sake of argument that all our sins had to be passed onto Jesus through the laying on of the hands of a High Priest, without any doubt that High Priest had to be the High Priest of the temple, who was Caiaphas at the time; however such a thing did not happen. How could such a thing ever happen? However, what does Mr Jong do then? He comes out with the teaching that John the Baptist was a High Priest, or rather, the last High Priest; we can’t accept such a thing because it is not supported by the Scripture in any way, even though John was certainly a descendant of the sons of Aaron, that is, he was of priestly descent. In addition to this, I want to say this: where does the Scripture state that John the Baptist laid his hands on the head of Jesus or that he administered the baptism to Jesus through the laying on of his hands? The answer is, ‘Nowhere,’ so the teaching according to which John passed onto Jesus all sins of the world through baptism, or rather through the laying on of his hands, does not have any Scriptural basis. There is no Biblical evidence, not even a hint, that John performed that act.
Furthermore, as we have seen, the High Priest had also to confess over the live goat all the sins of the people of Israel (this is something that Mr Jong does not emphasize), therefore John would have to confess over Jesus all the sins of the world. However, where does the Scripture speak of this confession made by John the Baptist over Jesus Christ? The answer is still the same, ‘Nowhere.’ Therefore, we really don’t understand how the alleged High Priest John the Baptist passed onto Jesus all the sins of men at His baptism when the Scripture is silent on this alleged laying on of hands as well as on a confession of all the sins of the world made by John over Jesus. I ask you: ‘If these important things, which according to Mr Jong we need to know in order to be saved, had really taken place when Jesus was baptized by John, could the Scripture be silent on them?’ I firmly believe that it could not.
However, what I want to stress is that this doctrine attaches too much importance to the baptism of Jesus, that is to say, this doctrine leads believers to think that in order to be saved they must believe in the baptism of Jesus, while the Scripture never states that in order to be saved a man must believe in the baptism of Jesus. According to the Scripture, one must believe that Jesus is the Christ of God who died on the cross for our sins (that is to say, He bore our sins in His body on the cross), who was buried and the third day He rose again for our justification (cf. Romans 4:24-25). That’s the Gospel which the apostle Paul preached to both Jews and Gentiles, listen to what he wrote to the Corinthians: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time” (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Therefore the events of the life of Jesus which a sinner must ABSOLUTELY believe in order to be saved are the atoning death of Christ and His resurrection. Even if he does not know anything about the baptism of Jesus, his faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus will certainly save him. This is confirmed by the fact that when the apostle Peter preached the Gospel to the Jews on the day of Pentecost and to the Gentiles at the house of Cornelius some time later, he did not speak of the baptism of Jesus, while he spoke of His death and His resurrection (cf. Acts 2:22-36; 10:34-43). The same thing must be said about the apostle Paul, for when Paul preached at Antioch of Pisidia he did not speak of the baptism of Jesus, but he preached His death and His resurrection (cf. Acts 13:16-41). And I would like to point out that both Peter and Paul, the former on the day of Pentecost while the latter at Antioch of Pisidia, preached the Gospel to the Jews (there were also some proselytes), thus to people who knew the ritual of the day of atonement (unlike the Gentiles who had no knowledge of these things). What a great opportunity for those apostles to explain to their hearers the meaning of Jesus’ baptism preached to us by Mr Paul Jong!! Yet they did not mention it, they said nothing about it, they did not speak of His baptism and its alleged meaning. The reason why they were silent on Jesus’ baptism is that they did not attach this great importance to Jesus’ baptism nor did they give to it the meaning given by Mr Jong.
Neither does the Scripture affirm that in order to be saved, a man must believe that when Jesus was baptized John the Baptist passed onto Him all the sins of the world through the laying on of his hands, for as we have seen such a thing did not take place. Therefore all those arguments according to which “one Man’s righteous act” (Romans 5:18 – NKJV) accomplished by Jesus to justify us includes Jesus’ baptism are vain, because that righteous act is the death of Christ, the shedding of His blood which took place for the remission of our sins, which was followed by the resurrection of Jesus which was worked by His Father. Didn’t Jesus teach this when on the night He was betrayed He took the cup and gave it to His disciples saying: “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:27-28 – NKJV)? Of course, that cup symbolized His blood. What has the baptism of Jesus to do with the remission of sins then? Of course, Jesus’ baptism was an important event, I am not questioning its importance, Jesus had to be baptized by John; however what cleanses our conscience from dead works is the precious blood of Jesus alone which Jesus shed on the cross and not His baptism. Therefore, we were reconciled to God through His death and not through His baptism; this is something which is attested by the Scripture many times. For instance Paul says to the Romans: “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5:9-10), and to the Colossians: “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (Colossians 1:19-22). Are not sufficiently clear the words of the apostle Paul? Therefore, the doctrine which holds that in order to obtain the remission of sins and be justified we must believe that Jesus’ baptism was an atoning act, that is, an act through which our sins were blotted out or taken away (anyhow something that, together with His death, is able to take away our sins) is a false doctrine, that is, a heretical teaching, there is no doubt about that.
We must preach the cross of Christ, as the apostles did, and not the baptism of Christ, and we must exhort men to repent and believe in the atoning death of Christ and in His resurrection as well, but we must not add the baptism of Jesus to these things as Mr Paul Jong does ignorantly, who in his books speaks more of Jesus’ baptism than of His death. In other words, we must follow the example of the apostle Paul. Obviously, with regard to the death of Christ we must preach that it was necessary because without shedding of blood there is no remission, and that the shedding of His blood was foreshadowed many times by the law of Moses, and we must preach also that Jesus Christ bore our sins in His own body on the cross, however let us see that we don’t say that John the Baptist was the last High Priest appointed by God who had to lay his hands on Jesus to pass onto Jesus all our sins because such a thing is untrue. The Scripture says that “the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6), and that “he shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11). The Scripture does not say that a High Priest would lay on Jesus all our sins!!! In addition to this, Jesus did not need a High Priest for He Himself was the High Priest of our confession who had to offer Himself for our sins (cf. Hebrews 7:26-28 and 3:1) and therefore he had to bear all our sins and that’s what He did on the cross. Therefore Jesus Christ was at the same time the Sacrificer and the sacrifice which had to be offered for our sins. To Him be the glory now and forever. Amen.
When did Jesus bear our sins? When and where did God lay on Him all our sins? The Scripture teaches that this took place on the cross when Jesus was crucified, for Peter says: “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24 – NKJV). This is confirmed also by Paul when he says that “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21 – NKJV) and also that “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” (Galatians 3:13 – NKJV). Therefore it was on the cross that Jesus took on Himself all our sins, and not at His baptism! Reflect upon this: it can’t be true that Jesus Christ took on Himself all our sins at His baptism, because if it had been so He would have been made to be sin even before He began His ministry. At His baptism Jesus did not take on Himself the sins of the world, but He was anointed with the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, to sum up, I tell you that we must not interpret the baptism of Jesus in the way Mr Jong does, nor must we believe that in order to receive remission of sins it is absolutely necessary to believe that through the baptism all sins were passed onto Jesus. Take heed to yourselves, beloved, because this strange doctrine of Mr Jong has had evil consequences on the way of salvation, for according to Mr Jong in order to be saved faith in the atoning death of Christ is not sufficient, for a man must believe also that John the Baptist passed all sins onto Jesus at the Jordan River!! Indeed Mr Jong preaches a doctrine of demons and creates great confusion in the midst of the people of God. Beware of the leaven of Mr Jong. Repudiate it and expose it. Hold fast the Gospel as it is written in the Bible without adding to it this diabolical teaching of Mr. Jong, which has nothing to do with the truth which is in Christ Jesus.