R. Stuart Dauermann on immersion and communal identity.

My understanding is that, in the early Yeshua community, baptism was considered the main action that initiated you into the community.  The Didache (chap. 9), similar to typical high church tradition, states that no one was allowed to have communion unless they have been baptized, with a reference to Yeshua’s teaching at Matt 7:6, “Give not that which is holy to the dogs.” The irony is that, back then, the rite would have been universally understood as a initiation into deeper Jewish observance and identification.  The phrases “dogs” and “swine”  in Apostolic parlance were associated with pagan/gentile identity and activity. One of the understood functions of the immersion was a mikveh cleansing of the tumah of an non-Torah observant life.  It’s not inconceivable that, for a 1st Century Jew, hearing the Yeshua Gospel and choosing to get immersed, it may have been the most observantly “Jewish” thing they’ve ever done in their life. 

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