WHO SHOULD BE IMMERSED?
In the Tower for May 1888 the subject of water baptism was examined. It was there shown that the real baptism is the burial of the human will into the will of Christ, complete consecration to him and his service; and that water baptism is but a symbol of this. The symbol should, therefore, be applied only to those justified believers in the ransom who have performed for themselves the actual immersion or consecration. And such should rejoice to fulfill the symbol as soon as they see its fitness and the Scriptural injunctions regarding it.
But questions are raised by some which may be of interest to all, viz.: Is it proper that those who had not consecrated before the general call ceased in 1881, but who have since consecrated, should be immersed to symbolize their consecration? And, if at all, should it be "into the name of the Lord Jesus Christ?"
We answer, Yes, to both questions. It is proper that all who come to a knowledge of the Lord should consecrate themselves fully to him. This will always be the only proper course to pursue, whether they come in under the "high calling" or under another later call, not so highly honorable and distinguished. Nothing short of full consecration will ever be proper, though by and by when our Lord's kingdom is ruling, and when the reward will be less, the keeping of that consecration will cost no self-denial except of things actually sinful. There will no longer be any suffering for righteousness' sake, as now. Since, therefore, it is proper to consecrate--and thus perform the real baptism--it must still be in order, also, to perform the symbol of it in water.
And, it is still proper to use the same words--though really the words used do not affect the symbol at all: it is the thought in the heart of the baptized one; and the significance of the act is according to his understanding of it,--neither more nor less.
As shown in the foregoing article, some of those who have consecrated since 1881 will yet receive the places of service which some, consecrated and baptized before, have failed and are failing to use; and such will also receive their places in the "body of Christ" and their crowns; hence, to these the thought of immersion into the name and body of Christ is altogether proper. And for others the same will be proper, for the name Christ becomes a family name. It is the name of the Bridegroom. It is bestowed upon his bride, the overcoming church; and it will be appropriate to all the children of Christ. The Christ complete, head and body, is proclaimed to be the "Everlasting Father" (i.e., the everlasting Life-giver) to all of the human family, who, during the Millennium, when awakened from the tomb and brought to a clear knowledge of the truth, will become fully and heartily consecrated to him; and who by his power shall reach perfection of mind and body and be counted worthy of everlasting life. It is proper, therefore, that these also should be baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus Christ; for if he is to be their Everlasting Father, they are to be his everlasting children, and children may always bear the family name.