As well, any strangers or Gentiles who wanted to become Jewish proselytes of the Covenant needed to be baptized or ritually cleansed of their sin. According to James Hastings, in A Dictionary of the Bible, the individual would be brought “to a pool, in which he stood up to his neck in water, while the great commandments of the Law were recited to him. These he promised to keep. Then a benediction was pronounced and he plunged beneath the water, taking care to be entirely submerged.”
As the New Testament opens, readers are introduced to John, baptizing people who had repented this sin.
- and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; - Matthew 3:6-8
As John baptized both proselytes and Jews needing ceremonial cleansing from sin, he declared that the Messiah would come and baptize people with the Holy Spirit.
- John answered and said to them all, As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. - Luke 3:16
John typified the Holy Spirit as the water of baptism. At the moment, Jesus was baptized in water by John, and the Father baptized Him with the Holy Spirit. Before His ascension into Heaven, Jesus said that the disciples would shortly be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
- for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. - Acts 1:5
On the day of Pentecost, the disciples were gathered together when the Father baptized them with the Holy Spirit. In the Baptism of the Spirit, believers are immersed into the Body of Christ.