A Study of 1st Peter 3:20-21
“In the days of Noah, the ark was a preparing, eight souls were saved by water, the like figure where unto even baptism doth also now save us, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (1st Peter 3:20-21)
The water was the wrath of God during the great flood in the days of Noah that destroyed all of mankind save for Noah and his household.
It was the pitch that was the picture of New Testament baptism. Baptism (the pitch) saved (delivered) Noah and his family upon the waters (the judgement of God).
“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.” (Genesis 6:14)
Baptize, pitch and atonement all mean to “cover with a stain or dye”.
Baptized comes from the Greek word ‘Baptizo’ which means – to make whelmed – to cover all over – to wash. ‘Baptizo’ comes from the Greek word ‘Bapto’ which means to overwhelm – cover wholly with fluid – to cover or stain (as with dye).
Pitch comes from the Hebrew word ‘Kopher’ which means – to cover in bitumen from the henna plant (as used for dyeing) – a stain coloured coating to make boats watertight – redemption price – ransom. ‘Kopher’ (noun) comes from the Hebrew word ‘Kaphar’ (verb) which means to cover – appease – make atonement – cleanse – pacify – pardon – purge away – make reconciliation.
Once a year the high priest would enter into the Most Holy Place and sprinkle the blood of the atonement lamb (a type of the blood of christ, the Lamb of God) covering the Ark of the covenant (baptizing with blood – Hebrews 9:7; Leviticus 23:27). “Without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). God’s divine presence hovered upon the mercy seat (kapporeth-from kaphar). If the Lamb was without spot or blemish (a type of Christ, the Lamb without sin), the wrath, of God would be appeased (kapar). God would look through the blood-stained covering of the mercy seat (on top of the Ark of the Convent) at the broken law inside and the sins of the people would be forgiven.
Israel was saved by baptism (covered with stain) from the wrath of God. The pitch was the covering stain (baptism-atonement) that protected and delivered (saved) Noah and his family from the wrath (water) of God. The pitch (baptism) kept the ark from sinking throughout the judgement of God. In like manner, the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God (John 1:29) covers and stains the Believer (baptizing him), protecting and delivering (saving) him through the fiery baptism (Matthew: 3:11; 1st Peter 1:7) of God’s judgement.
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” (Matthew 3:11)
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” (1st Peter 1:7)
Paul said in Romans 5:9 “being now justified by his blood we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
John said, “He washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5).
The one true baptism is Holy Spirit baptism in the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, covering His elect, atoning for their sin, and calling them to obedience (1st Peter 1:2) as He delivers them from the wrath of God. Baptism (staining of Christ’s blood) doth also now save us (deliver us through wrath).
There is something more in the expression used in reference to the making of the ark: “And shalt pitch it within and without with pitch” (Genesis 6:14). Now, it is a most remarkable fact that the word “pitch” in Hebrew (the word is Gopher) signifies also atonement. Now see, the slime or pitch with which the ark was daubed within and without kept every drop of water out. This very expression for slime or pitch in the Hebrew signifies also atonement; and is it not the atonement that keeps out the water? Can anything but the atonement keep the soul from the waters of God’s wrath and from the floods of vengeance that shall sweep away the world with the ungodly? There is nothing but the atonement, and that bears up the soul, and keeps out every drop of rain. “It shall not come nigh thee.”