Is water baptism a requirement?

Question:      According to Mt.28:19, Jesus told the Disciples to go forth baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  Does this mean that it is necessary to be baptized before we can go to heaven?

Answer: This scripture states mankind should be baptized, but it did not say to baptize with water.  Most people only assume the baptism Jesus mentioned was with water.  Notice that John the Baptist also mentioned a baptism other than a water baptism; Mt.3:11, “I indeed baptize you with water…..but he that cometh after me is mightier than I….. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”   We can see that baptism was not limited to water baptism; therefore we have to conclude that there are different kinds of baptism.

The word, baptize means to immerse, to submerge and to overwhelm.   The scripture seems to indicate that one should be baptized (immersed) with the Word of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost as indicated in the next verse; Mt.28:20, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…..”   The things that Jesus taught or commanded, was the Word of God.  Jesus wanted the Disciples to baptize (immerse) individuals with the word of God; not with water.

Jesus told us exactly what we had to do in order to enter heaven; John 3:3, “…..except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Notice, he said except a man is born again; not except a man is baptized.  Remember, what Jesus said to one of the men while they hung on the cross; Luke 23:43, “… day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”   We know this man went to heaven, because Jesus told him he was going while he hung on the cross.  My question is when would that man get baptized?  After examining scripture, we see that the answer is no, water baptism is not a requirement for one to go to heaven.  The only requirement is to be born again.