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Matthew 28:19

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20

Nearly every Christian has been taught the foundational beliefs of the trinity from the passage above. In this article we are going to examine Godís word to understand the great commission in greater detail. At the same time understanding the principle of two or three witnesses makes it is a good example to use. Two or three witnesses is the platform for the principle of establishing the truth of the matter. One witness is not enough to convict a person of a crime and this rule played a major role in the trial of Jesus Christ. Many witnesses came forth, but their testimony did not agree. Notice what happened when the High Priest said.

Why do we need any more witnesses?" he asked. "You have heard the blasphemy. Mark 14:63-64

Everyone present heard Christís statement of coming seated at the right hand of God and the number of witnesses in agreement suddenly multiplied and established what Christ said. So why did they refused to believe what they heard?

On the other hand, the adage that something can be said once and still be true is very deceiving. If one witness is not enough to convict a person of a crime it is not enough to establish a doctrine either.  When things are said only once and there may be facts contrary and the certainty of the truth disappears.  Truth is defined as conforming to actuality or in other words an agreement of facts as to what has happened. Truth is a collection of undisputed facts, the preponderance of evidence that reveals the absolute truth. As Christians we must learn to sort the facts and develop the ability to find the truth to know the truth and approve it. Paul referred this process in Romans 12:1-2 as a spiritual sacrifice of renewing our minds.

Jesus said All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. This is a powerful statement, but it is also an authority that could only be given by God the father. Therefore Jesus had established his authority to command the disciples to go into the entire world as his witnesses. His command had four parts to it.

The first part was to go and make disciples of all nations. Before anyone can become a Disciple they must believe the gospel and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? Romans 10:14

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. Mark 16:20

The second part deals with baptizing the disciples they made after they had preached the gospel. A committed Christian is baptized as a first step of faith.

"Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3:27

The third part is to teach every disciple to obey everything Christ commanded his disciples to do. Every command of God demands obedience coming from love and a respect for God. Godís commands steer you away from the sin he hates and leads you into a holy way of living.

I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. Jeremiah 7:23

  Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8

The fourth part is the encouragement that when you go in Christís name he would be with you.

Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. John 14:23

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27

Jesus entrusted his disciples with spreading the good news to the world. This command came with a brief operational standard instructing the disciples of Christ what their task was and how to do it. To derive additional background on the great commission see. Mark 16:15-19. Please note that a number of bibles have footnotes on Mark 16:9-20 saying, Verses 9-20 are found in many ancient Greek manuscripts, but not in the two oldest manuscripts.  However, the information found in Mark 16:9-20 can be easy to verify with other portions of the New Testament.

The command of Matthew 28:19 was

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19

Compare this to what Peter said after the outpouring of the Spirit

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

Matthew 28:19 gives a specific procedure for baptizing other than the procedure Peter advocated. The disciples went to and remained in the upper room waiting on God for ten days. Then a spectacular event took place on the morning of the tenth day changing the lives of the disciples forever, they were equipped with the Holy Spirit and the power of God. This event was so impressive that crowds from Jerusalem were drawn by the power of God to gather around the upper room. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter began to preach the gospel with convicting power. After hearing Peterís sermon the crowd ask what shall we do?

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

This was the first baptism recorded in church history but the method was contrary to the instructions of Jesus Christ as given in the great commission.  Still this method of baptizing in the name of Jesus continued throughout the forty-year ministry of the every disciple who heard the great commission. Below are other examples.

Whatís strange is that no one chosen by God recorded a baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit certain within the Bible. Without a second witness, the method of baptism described by the great commission can be disputed. In addition the methods used by the disciples demonstrates a different perception of the command than we have today.

The third part of the great commission stated ďteaching them to obey everything I have commanded youĒ.  The Bible has a vast amount of factual information within its pages but the information supporting and strengthening this command is missing. No one other than Matthew taught to baptize in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

For more biblical based information regarding the history of Baptism go to:

http://www.angelfire.com/la2/prophet1/historyofbaptism.html

Having the right information forces you to search God's word for its truth. The phrase baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit has the potential of being true. However, the practice and the teaching by the disciples in regards to baptism does not support to the great commission with an appropiate response. Why didnít the disciples carry out the command baptize as we do today and why didnít they teach how to baptize? How do we verify either baptism or the nature of God when the bible does not authenticate the great commission?

The subject matter of the great commission is about making disciples and growth of the kingdom. The bible tells us not to go beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6.) Lets understand that God's word does not describe God in three persons. Instead, God describes himself as being united with Jesus Christ.

The belief in the trinity is a matter of choice but ultimately deriving your conclusion have to be based on the existing facts found in God's word. Eventually, the proof of the matter will become sacred to you.  Knowing how to develop the truth from the facts available depends on the way you understand the principle of truth. A wise man takes time to listen to God and verify every fact to know the truth so he may make prudent decisions. Solomon said that his words were

 for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young--  let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance-- for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.Proverbs 1:4-6

Thinking the way the crowd does may be right when it comes to worldly things, but it is a deceptive concept when it comes to living in the spiritual world. The advice of God's word is that knowing the truth preserves the life of its possessor. Make the choice to observe the precautions the Bible speaks about and then take his word to heart.

"Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses." 2 Corinthians 13:1

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