Old Testament references to Holy Baptism with water

As with the other sacraments, references to Holy Baptism with water can be found in the Old Testament.

The deliverance of Noah and his family in the ark is regarded in 1 Peter 3: 20-21 as an "antitype of baptism" and a reference to future salvation. In Christian tradition, the Israelites' passage through the Red Sea–their deliverance from Egyptian captivity–is also understood as a reference to the deliverance that occurs through baptism with water.

The Mosaic Law strictly distinguishes between "clean" and "unclean". Water is one of the means used to bring about ritual purity. Persons who were unclean in a religious sense had to subject to a bath of purification (Leviticus 13-15).

Ezekiel 16: 9 mentions a washing with water and an anointing with oil, through which Jerusalem was received into a covenant of salvation. This can also be understood as a reference to Holy Baptism with water and Holy Sealing.

Likewise, the situation of the Aramaic commander Naaman can be related to baptism: at the instruction of the prophet Elisha, the leper washed himself by dipping his body seven times into the Jordan, and the disease abated (2 Kings 5: 1-14). This can be understood as a symbol for the washing away of original sin through baptism.

See also