Did Jesus Have to Die for Himself?

Did Jesus Have to Die for Himself?

          A vital question has risen for our consideration. "Did the baptism of Jesus literally remove His own Condemnation from Adam, or was His crucifixion necessary in order for that removal (Romans 5: 12, 16, 18) as he suffered and died upon the tree? It must be realized that if Jesus did partake of such removal by baptism, he needed not to have suffered and died for himself (Hebrews 7: 27).

         That question is very vital, in that all the types in the Bible (the sacrifices, the symbolic cleansings of persons and inanimate objects, as well as baptisms), did only do symbolically what was accomplished in the antitype, that is, the sacrifice of Jesus. 

          In the types, those things did not happen in reality.  If the types had actually accomplished all that the antitype accomplished, the antitype would not have been required, that is, Jesus would not have needed to die for us, or for himself. Every type in the Bible pointed to Jesus and his work in his ministry, terminating with his death, resurrection, and immortalization.

         We read in Hebrews 9: 15 that Jesus, in his death upon the cross "redeemed" the sins of the first Testament – actually, the sins of the entire Old Testament times. If the aforementioned position of the class was true, Jesus would not have needed to "redeem" those sins (either inherited or committed) if the sacrifices of the past had accomplished what was required.

It is an important truth that those typical sacrifices were useless and without meaning apart from their representation of the death of Jesus (Hebrews 10: 4). It is written that Jesus was the "lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13: 8). Yet, Hebrews 9: 23-28 clearly teaches that Jesus did not suffer often (Verses 26, 28).  Jesus suffered and died only once at the end of the ages. Therefore, each time an animal died, its blood was shed in representation of the shed blood of Jesus who was the antitype of every sacrificial type in the Bible.

         As we ponder the baptisms of The New Testament, we recall the washings of the Old Testament and remember that baptism represents the death, the burial and the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 6: 3-6; Colossians 2: 9-13;  3: 9). That is, it was only a symbol of his actual crucifixion. Since baptism is a symbol, the results of baptism are symbolic. It was needful for his crucifixion to occur for those symbols to have any meaning, for all those things to be done in water had no meaning at all apart from the crucifixion itself, in order to lend any efficacy to baptism, for "without the shedding of blood is no remission"

(Hebrews 9: 22).

         We learn from Romans 6: 3-6 and Colossians 2: 11-13 that baptism is a typical crucifixion, a burial, and a resurrection. Baptism simply takes moments to complete. Yet the antitype of baptism took three days. Jesus died and was buried on one day. Three days later, he was resurrected by the blood of the everlasting covenant (Hebrews 13:  20), not by his baptism. Shortly after his literal resurrection, he literally put off the old man (mortality with all that accompanies it) and put on the new, that is, the divine nature,  not by the blood of any type, but by his own blood (Hebrews 9: 12) which had not yet been shed as he was baptized, but was shed as he was crucified. None of the benefits from the types of the crucifixion happened literally, for scripture teaches us they had no efficacy of themselves, a fact that includes baptism. 

         It is a fact that after Jesus was baptized, he still was under the sentence of death that descended from Adam, else he could not have died on the tree. His nature still was of the kind that could be tempted, for we read of his temptation after his baptism (Matthew 4: 1-11), and we read in Hebrews 4: 15 that Jesus was tempted in all points as we, yet without sin".  If baptism had accomplished all that was needed in Christ, he would not have needed to offer first for himself and then for the people. Hebrews 7: 27 informs us he still needed to offer for himself (after his baptism), which he accomplished as he offered up himself as he was crucified. He committed no personal sins. Therefore, if he no longer had his inherited condition for which to offer, it produces a mystery as to why he had to offer for himself as he was crucified. Again, all the types simply atoned for or covered the condition,  moving all the types (including baptism) forward to the cross for true redemption  (Hebrew 9: 15).

         Hebrews 9: 15 relates to both Old Testament and New Testament redemption, for "those that are called"  refers to those of the New Testament era. If Jesus' baptism had completely, for all time, removed his inherited condition, our baptism should have done the same for us. That would mean that Jesus only had to die for his and our personal sins,

and he had none for which to offer. The Diaglott at Hebrews 9: 16 informs us, "For where a covenant exists, the death of that which has ratified it is necessary to be produced."

         It is true that Romans 8: 1 reads, "There is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus...." Let us be aware that mortality and the sentence to death is still on us after baptism, as is the proneness to sin as we are tempted. Jesus was still mortal and under the sentence to die after baptism, or he could not have died. He was tempted after his baptism as we are,  but did not sin ( Matthew 4: 1-11.  He also died after his baptism. There was a symbolic change after his baptism, in that the eternity of death in Adam was symbolically no longer upon him, but that also was dependent upon the blood of his crucifixion. The eternity of the death sentence was literally removed from him by his offering upon the tree.

         The fact that Jesus' crucifixion was all that needed to be accomplished, and not his baptism, nor any other type, is a fundamental truth. If the types themselves had accomplished all that the cross accomplished, then Jesus' prayer that "if it be possible,  let this cup (the crucifixion) pass from me" (Matthew 26: 39), could have been permitted.  However, without the antitype of all the types, they that sleep in Christ are perished (I Corinthians 15: 18).    Wayne R. Tanner