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TOM - Why did Christ choose to be baptized at the age of 30? Was that a Jewish custom of his day? Was there a set age to be baptized at that time. Do you know the guidelines for baptism and other saving ordinances in the NT and OT?
Also...if I'm remebering correctly, young women in the days of Christ typically married young correct? Like, at the age of puberty? Was this also true for men? Were they married young? Or were the men typically older when they got married?
JOEL - There is no indication in the scriptures that tells us why Jesus waited until 30 to be baptised. Could be he did not know
anyone else where He lived who had the necessary authority to perform the ordinance or He was just waiting for what He knew would be the right time. Even though He and John the Baptist were cousins, we don't know if they had any close relationship throughout their lives until this moment.
The Jews did not think of baptism, or something similar to it, as an unusual practice but an essential ordinance.
According to many Jewish writers baptism was an ordinance in ancient Israel. Here are a few quotations referring to this:
Possibly the baptism of Jewish proselytes furnished the model followed by
Christian missionaries. (Encyclopedia of Religion, edited by Virgilius Ferm, p. 53.)
John stood forth in the spirit of the prophets of old to preach his baptism of repentance symbolized by cleansing with
water. The font in the temple of Solomon was evidently used for this purpose. (See Jer. 4:14; Ezek. 36:25; Zech. 13:1.)
According to rabbinical teachings, which dominated even during the existence of the Temple (Pes. viii. 8), Baptism, next to
circumcision and sacrifice, was an absolutely necessary condition to be fulfilled by a proselyte to Judaism. Yeb. 46b, 47b;
Ker. 9a; 'Ab, Zarah 57a. . . . (The Jewish Encyclopedia, Funk & Wagnalls, Vol. 2, p. 499.)
Dr. Arthur C. McGiffert, who has been one of America's foremost scholars in this field explains:
"Baptism was entirely in line with the common Jewish rite of purification, and as a symbolical representation of cleansing from the sins or crimes of which they repented, it must seem the most natural thing in the world to them . . . and was never thought of as involving any disloyalty to Judaism, or any departure from its traditional principles." (Arthur C. McGiffert, The Apostolic Age, p. 59.)
Dr. Alfred Edersheim states that the Jewish law required:
"That those who had contracted Levitical defilement were to immerse before offering sacrifice. Again, it was prescribed that such Gentiles as became "proselytes of righteousness," or "proselytes of the Covenant," were to be admitted to the full participation in the privilege of Israel by the three-fold rites of circumcision, baptism and sacrifice—the immersion being, as it were, the acknowledgement and symbolic removal of moral defilement, corresponding to that of Levitical uncleanness." (Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, vol. 1, pp. 273-274)
In an article published in the Times and Seasons, September 1, 1842, the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote the following on baptism:
"In the former ages of the world, before the Savior came in the flesh, "the saints" were baptized in the name of Jesus
Christ to come (Mosiah 18:17), because there never was any other name whereby men could be saved; and after he came in the flesh and was
crucified, then the saints were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, crucified, risen from the dead and ascended into
heaven, that they might be buried in baptism like him, and be raised in glory like him, that as there was but one Lord, one
faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of us all, even so there was but one door to the mansions of bliss. Amen." (Times
and Seasons, Vol. 3, p. 905.)
There is no indication of an age requirement in the scriptures for the type of baptism performed before the time of Christ, but was probably restricted to adults.
Not sure about the OT but for the NT and today the main requirements for baptism refered to in the scriptures are faith in God, acceptance of Christ, and repentance of sins (Mark 1:4-5; 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-38; 19:4; 22:16; Rom. 6:1-6; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 3:26-27; Col. 2:12-13; Heb. 6:1-6; 10:22; 1 Pet. 3:21).
According to McClintock and Strongs Encyclopaedia, "Under Judaism, boys could marry or make religious vows at 14-years-old
and girls at 12-years-old, both only with parental permission, until both boys or girls were 21-years-old" ("Adult Age,"
McClintock and Strong Encyclopaedia).