Demonstration at the Jordan

By Lloyd Ellefson

Dramas are often interesting and enjoyable. In our absorption and enjoyment of the production, we do not think of everything that is taking place behind the scenes. Yet the backstage activity and support are essential and important. Without its support the drama could not unfold. Similarily, at the baptism of Jesus Christ a lot of things were happening behind the scenes.

The Christ, the Son of God, was always with God! When He took on the likeness of human flesh, He demonstrated some of the things that have happened and were completed with God ever since He rested in Genesis 2:2.

"Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him." (Eph.1:4) The Greek word translated foundation, actually means disruption, a casting down. God has chosen us in Christ before the disruption of the world. That means that Christ was there before the disruption of the world. The world is a system of rule - it is not the created world. When sin entered the world, the rule of God was disrupted or cast down. This is very evident, isn't it?

In Rev.13:8 we read, "All who dwell on the earth will worship him (the beast), everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation (disruption) of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain." The Lamb was slain from the disruption of the world. Since God's rule is in the Lamb of God, He was slain when His rule was rejected. This constituted the disruption of the world. At that very time God began the process of redemption. We must not lose sight of that as we become absorbed with all the action. This progressive revelation of redemption in the Old Testament is observed in Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and the prophets, and culminated in the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ!

Matthew 3:13-17 and Luke 3:21-22 contain the record of the baptism of Jesus. In Luke 3:23 we read that Jesus began His ministry at about 30 years of age, just after His baptism in the Jordan River. According to Old Testament law, those who were of Aaronic descent and eligible for the priesthood, were anointed for this service at the age of 30. At that time a bullock was sacrificed, and the young man would be anointed with oil for service.

Jesus was fulfilling the law as He came to be baptized at the age of 30. His anointing was not for the Aaronic priesthood, but for the Melchizedek priesthood. He came as a man, born of a woman, born under the law. (Gal.4:4) God sent Him "so that He might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." (v.5) This forms the basis for what He did in Gethsemane and at the cross.

It is important to understand the scriptural meaning of adoption. Word meanings often change over the years, and the word ADOPTION is no exception. In v.6 Paul clarifies the meaning of ADOPTION by saying, "Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, `Abba! Father!'" (v.6) That Spirit testifies to our Spirit that we are children of God, and together with Him we cry `Abba! Father!' When this happens, we receive our adoption.

In John 16:23 Jesus said that in the day when He would see them again, they would not ask Him any questions, but they would ask the Father for the things they needed. Then He goes on to say that so far He has spoken in figurative language, but that will change. Instead of figurative language, He will speak plainly of the Father! (v.25) The coming of the Holy Spirit brings this change! When the Holy Spirit comes, He cries, "Father". He teaches us in language that is understood by us.

As Jesus grew up, He grew in wisdom and in favor with God and men. At the age of 12 He already understood that God was His Father, for He said to His parents, "Didn't you know that I had to be in the things of My Father." I think this knowledge came to Him because of His mother's teaching. She most likely put Him on her knee and told Him about the wonders of the Spirit coming to her, His miraculous birth and that God was really His Father. So even at the tender age of 12 Jesus was manifesting His identification with His true Father. Since an angel of the Lord had also appeared to Joseph several times, he did not doubt the veracity of Mary's word about God being the Father of Jesus.

As prophesied in Isaiah 40, John the Baptist was the forerunner who prepared the way of the Lord. John's father was of Aaronic descent, so John could have become a priest. But God had other plans for him! He called him into the desert, into the wilderness, and there John was taught to listen to the Spirit's teaching. God told him that "He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit." (Jn.1:33)

Jesus was born under the law, was circumcised, and obediently fulfilled the requirements of the law, even appearing in Jerusalem for the various feasts. So when Jesus wanted his cousin John to baptize Him, John "tried to prevent Him, saying, `I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?' But Jesus answering said to him, `Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' Then he permitted Him." (Matt.3:14-15) What is meant by ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS? There is the righteousness of the law, the tutor to bring us to repentance, and the righteousness without the law, which comes to us by the grace of God. Here Jesus fulfilled both the righteousness of the law and the righteousness without the law!

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Change does not take place in Him! He is always the same! So nothing that happened to Christ Jesus as the Son of God while He was in His physical body ever changed Him. The Christ of the New Testament was the same Christ who was in the prophets of the Old Testament. Since He does not change, we have to be changed into what Christ is! The things that happen to us do not change who we are in Christ, for we are becoming what He is! Christ is the representation of God and we are all to be conformed to His image while we are still in this world.

In Matt. 11:13 Jesus said, "For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John." What did He mean? Was that the end of the law and prophecy? The answer is found in the scriptures. Jesus said, "Don't think I came to destroy the Law and the prophets - I came to fulfill them." He is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. So the baptism of Jesus was a part of the fulfillment of all the law and the prophets. They were fulfilled IN Him! The only way we can participate in the fullness and completeness of Christ, is IN Christ! The fulfillment came to pass in Him; it does not come to pass in the earth. When they are fulfilled in Him, the kingdom of God comes.

God gave the law to show us that our own righteousness could not measure up to His standard. The recognition of our dilemma was to lead us to Christ. The law came through Moses, and was one of the stages of redemption; it showed us why we were estranged from God, and why we were dying. The law could not bring life, for it is a ministration of death. A dead man needs to be buried. The burial of the old man consists of putting away all the thoughts and acts of the flesh - the man who is just concerned with self! God doesn't deal with sins as such now; He is dealing with the man through whom sin came into the world.

As long as we are under the law we are servants; in Christ we are sons! So when we come out of the law, we come into sonship! We need to see the difference between resurrection and redemption. Resurrection is the work of the Spirit; it takes us out of the death of our carnal mind and places us into the life of Christ; it is a regeneration. Redemption is a process in which our mind is being renewed; it is redeemed from thinking man's thoughts to thinking Christ's thoughts!

Jesus came to the Jordan in His identification with humanity. In this identification He came as one who was dead in Adam and under the law. The baptism of Jesus heralded the way for man to go. He did this as the Son of Man for us. Everything was done for the glory of God; He did not do anything for His own glory.

When Jesus went to the Jordan He took the penalty of the law. The penalty of the law is death - not hell. In taking on the penalty of the law, He had to consider Himself dead, or separated from God through the flesh. So He came to be buried. "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the we too might walk in newness of life." (Rom.6:3-4) Even as Jesus was buried through baptism into death, so are we; as He was raised into life, so are we - that we might walk in newness of life!

Jesus' coming to the Jordan reminds us of the time Israel came to the Jordan River on their way from Egypt to the promised land. After they had crossed over, the priesthood remained standing in the middle of the riverbed while 12 stones from the river were placed as a memorial on the land. Then Joshua set up 12 stones in the middle of the Jordan where the feet of the priests had rested. In type or shadow this signified a change of government. They had been under a worldly government in Egypt, and everything they did there was for the world. They were in bondage to Pharaoh. That old government was buried in the waters of the Jordan. Now they were released to enter the promised land under a new government - the kingdom of God in type. The old generation had to die off and the new generation had to receive a new circumcision before it could possess the land. In type, this signified the circumcision of the heart which is not made with hands. Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament type at the Jordan!

Notice the progression of God's redemption when Jesus was baptized. We know that Christ was in all those who typified the various stages of redemption from Noah to the coming of Jesus. When Jesus came to the Jordan, He was the sum or completion, and the fulfillment of all that God had been typifying in the natural - through every shadow and type, including the temple and priesthood.

Jesus came to the Jordan as the last Adam - made under the law. The law and the prophets were there in type. Jesus came to the Jordan River because His tutor, Moses or the law, showed Him His need for repentance. Elijah was there in John the Baptist, because John came in the spirit of Elijah, and Elijah represented the prophets. Jesus received the baptism or the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and that was the fulfillment of God's promise to the seed of Abraham. (Luke 24:49; Gal.3:14) Noah was there, typifying the water of separation, for the flood brought a separation between believers and unbelievers; the Red Sea brought a separation between Israel and Pharaoh with his army. When the flood was over, the judgment of God was over, and the dove came back to the ark.

Jesus was fulfilling these types. Judgment was fulfilled in his actions. The death penalty was enacted upon the old Adam, and that is why Jesus is the last Adam. The priesthood was also fulfilled, because John was there as an Aaronic priest, and Jesus received the baptism in the Holy Spirit or the Anointing - the anointing that produced a new priesthood. The anointing He gives us makes us priests of God!

Jesus did all these things in His identification with humanity. In our identification with Him, everything He did becomes ours! We were buried with Him in baptism - and only the dead are buried. We were also raised with Him!

Baptism typifies burial. Jesus went into the water and was baptized. This was the burial of the old man, of the old government of His life. Coming out of the water meant that He came out of death. In baptism, He was buried into death and then raised up. This typifies what resurrection really is. When Jesus came out of the Jordan He had the new birth. It was upon this new man that the Holy Spirit came in the form of a dove, and He received the anointing of the Spirit. He did not do this for Himself; He did it for us! He is the pattern; He is the way for us.

It was at this time that Jesus came out of the government of the law and received the government of the Spirit. This was His adoption. He came out of the servitude of the law, and God spoke from heaven declaring His Sonship!

Romans 8:23 links our adoption to the redemption of the body. It says, "...having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body." Notice that it doesn't say redemption of our bodies - plural. It says the redemption of our body - the one body of Christ of which we are all members! This body does not refer to the body of Adam, for it is not redeemed - it returns to the ground from where it came. As God said, "For you are dust, and to dust you shall return." Our new birth gives us a new body; we are in the body of Christ now. Since this body is unseen, many find this hard to believe. It is the body of Christ that is being redeemed. His body is a body of life, truth, resurrection and innocence. Receiving everything that dwells in the body of Christ and that comes from the body of Christ, brings about the redemption of the body.

Let's take a closer look at the death that took place. We were crucified with Him, yet when He died on the cross, no physical person died with Him. The thieves were crucified at the time He was crucified, but they did not die with Him. This death brings an end to our identification with the carnal mind in the Adamic man, the earthy image of God. This man opposes God and is the man of sin, the body of sin, and the body of death that Paul talks about in Rom. 6 and 7.

God began the process of redemption from the disruption of the world. It was announced to Adam and Eve, and runs like a thread all the way through the law and the prophets. Since Christ was in the law and the prophets, He was in submission to the flesh and was being put to death the whole time.

But when the fulness of time came, God sent forth His own Son, and He came preaching the kingdom. He said, "Repent, for the kingdom is here." The kingdom is God's spiritual rule that has come to take the place of man's natural rule - the rule of the carnal mind minding the flesh.

So when we are born again, we are born in Him. Our death and burial also takes place in Him. I believe the manchild was born at the Jordan. In Revelation 11:19 it says that the temple of God which is in heaven was opened and the ark of His covenant appeared. After the baptism of Jesus, the heavens were opened and He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and He heard God speak to Him. The heavens being opened was something new. The ark in heaven represents the presence of God. Jesus Christ is the Spirit of the new law; He is the Spirit of adoption, the Spirit of the Son. He is the Spirit of everything that happened in the natural at the Jordan.

We may think that this experience was just for Jesus - but it is also for us. Jesus gave the keys of the kingdom to Peter, and he used them to open the door of the kingdom for the Jews and the Gentiles. So the church now has them.

In Gal. 4:23-26 it says that Hagar and Sarah, are covenants, and they represent the present Jerusalem and the Jerusalem above. These two Jerusalems are covenants. In Rev. 21, the new Jerusalem is the bride, the wife of the Lamb. This is very interesting because in Isaiah 66:7-13, a woman gives birth to a boy, or manchild. I believe she is the woman of Rev. 12 who also gives birth to a manchild. We are part of this manchild when we are put into Christ. So this woman, this covenant, is the mother of us all.

In Isaiah 66:8 it says that a nation is born in one day. We know that in Christ we are a royal nation, a royal priesthood and the new temple; we are partakers of the divine nature, partakers of the promises, partakers of His inheritance, and we become the Lord's Christ or the Lord's anointed ones!

It is important that we understand the difference between the new birth and the anointing. Many people think that they are the same. Forgiveness of sins is not the anointing. Peter states this quite clearly in his first message. He said that on the basis of repentance and the forgiveness of sins (which makes us a new man), we will receive the Holy Spirit, the anointing. The natural man cannot receive the Spirit, for spiritual things are meaningless to him!

Those who are not in Christ receive everything in parables because they cannot hear spiritually. (Matt. 13:13) So if we see spiritual realities only in natural fulfillment, we are only seeing them in parables, because the reality of all things and the fulfillment of all things is in Christ! Christ does not give us reality in separation from Himself; He gives us Himself and in Him we have reality! By being in Christ, we are joined to the reality that is in Christ! By being put into the body of Christ we can receive the spiritual realization of sonship. So we see that the sum of all things is Christ; He is the consummation of the ages!

Jesus began His ministry by saying, "Repent for the time is fulfilled." In Christ time is fulfilled, so those who are in Christ, are not operating in time now. That is why in Christ, all the teaching on ages and millenniums doesn't have a lot of meaning. They are only types, shadows and figures of that which is to come. Christ is ageless, but the activity of Christ makes the ages. (The correct translation of the Greek AEON is AGES, in Hebrews 1:2, not worlds.) So Christ actually makes the ages by the activity of the Spirit.

As we function in the spiritual realm, we begin to understand what God is doing in the Spirit - not what the world is doing or what God is doing in the world. The world lacks the Spirit of God and therefore lacks the kingdom rule in the Spirit. It is ruled by the carnal mind. The things that are happening in the world reflect its lack of God's rule in the Spirit. At one time we were living in the world - on the other side of the cross. Now we are living on the other side of natural things! Christ has become our life! We are no longer a part of the world, even as Christ was not of the world.

I fully and completely believe in the message that we have in Christ Jesus! His resurrection is our resurrection! We fully believe Jesus was resurrected, but it is another thing to believe that we were raised from the dead with Him! We have passed from death to life! We have been put into what God is, and was, and has been all along! What a wonderful realization!

However, those who are outside of Christ cannot see spiritually; they can only see naturally. They need to be delivered and released from sin and death. This does not happen progressively in the things He does for us. It happens in the progression we make in Jesus Christ. Spiritual understanding can only be received in the Spirit. For instance, if we are really born of the Spirit, we understand that we are a new creature in Christ Jesus. The new creation is in Christ Jesus!

The new creation man has nothing to do with the old Adamic man! The latter will never be made better; nor will this world be made better.

In Christ we live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God for it is the bread of life. We grow by the Word of God which comes in the Spirit. We want to keep hearing what the Spirit is saying to the church, and grow up into the head which is Christ. Our growth brings us deeper relationship and greater understanding. Therefore we don't wait for something to happen to us externally. We are not waiting for this world to end, etc., because Christ is the end of the law for righteousness! He is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. The old ends in Christ!

It is difficult for us to testify to these things because the natural man cannot understand them and neither can those who are still babes in Christ. Paul could not speak to the Corinthians as to spiritual men, but only as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ. (1 Cor.3:1) Their minds had not yet been renewed. When our witness to these spiritual realities is not accepted, and we are rejected because of it, we are being crucified with Christ. It is a spiritual crucifixion because they are putting to death the testimony about sonship, about God being our Father and the newness of life we have in Him. This is the testimony Christ had. He was crucified because of His witness, not because of His sinlessness and the miracles He performed.

So our testimony is not just about being saved, forgiven, going to heaven, and telling everybody about that. The gospel is so much more than that! What I have said today is a very essential part of that.

God bless you. Consider what I say and may the Lord give you understanding. Amen.

Return to "Fresh Manna" by Lloyd Ellefson

Archived Writings by Lloyd Ellefson