Children of Heaven


“A baptism which does not discern between the fruit of the womb and the fruit of the tomb is anti-Christ, denying He has come in the flesh.”

This post follows on from Exposed To The Elements.

An online paedobaptist friend commented that he had never heard sacred architecture offered as an argument for credobaptism before. My experience with the brilliant Bible teaching by the various Federal Vision gents is that I get a principle under my belt, then automatically begin to see its implications for all of Scripture. But then numerous times I would be surprised when no one had thought of applying it consistently. The main offender is paedobaptism. Despite their claims, it is a rite that does not spring naturally from Scripture. In fact, it has to be protected from Scripture, from the very principles I have been taught by paedobaptists.

There’s a reason that people with Asperger’s are being employed to find bugs in software. We can hold a lot of data in “working RAM” at once, which means we can “spot the difference” visually. Penelope Trunk writes:

 I have a feeling that what gave me the ability to bridge from a quirky writer to a marketable writer was focusing obsessively on Generation Y. Nobody could memorize the facts as fast as I did, and because they were all in my head I could synthesize them faster than everybody else and come up with trends. [1]

My friend Chris Wooldridge is a data analyst. His job is to find trends in data and present them pictorially. I have no doubt this is why he has picked up the Bible Matrix so quickly and is parsing passages like an old hand. To some degree, this ability requires having all the other key instances of the matrix in a “holding pattern” so they can be overlaid and compared. It is immensely beautiful, and it is one of two reasons why the practice of paedobaptism irks me so much. It is the fly in the ointment, the bug in the software. The Bible Matrix is the DNA of the Scriptures, which, like DNA, have a mechanism of self-correction. The matrix process of maturity rejects paedobaptism in every instance. Not only is the practice never described or commanded in Scripture, forces the redefinition of Christian, Church, Gospel, faith and just about everything else in its perverted path, the very DNA of the Bible treats it as a foreign body to be neutralized, a bug to be exterminated, an error to be corrected. The structure of the Scriptures themselves is as fussy as someone with OCD.

Now that I have many of my readers in defensive mode, I would like to take a look at a very simplified version of the architecture which makes paedobaptism the impossible doctrine. This has to do with the definition of “son of God.” Are sprinkled babies children of God? Both James Jordan and Peter Leithart maintains that the Gospel “redeems” natural patterns. I agree with them to some point. But their conflation of the image with the imager is an unwitting form of idolatry, with infants as the idols. They claim that paedobaptism is a New Covenant version of circumcision, at least as far as defining the boundary of the Covenant people (Jordan rightly says that circumcision is not baptism, and we strangely agree on many other points.) But a son of God is not a son of man. Paedobaptists love to abuse the Covenant with Abraham to support their well-meaning but perverted rite. I want to undermine that by taking us right back to the Garden of Eden.


Jesus called Himself “the Son of Adam,” a fact made clearer by the use of the phrase concerning the prophet Ezekiel, in whose book it appears over 90 times. I believe the reason is that Ezekiel is the only prophet given access to the heavenly Sanctuary, the throne of God. He is made, as Jordan observes, a kind of “rival High Priest in exile,” much as was Jesus many centuries later. The prophet is symbolically slain, falling on his face, then lifted up and filled with the Spirit of God. As a new Adam, he goes through a process of death and resurrection, and the rest of the book describes the same process measured out upon Israel.

But Jesus also called Himself “the Son of God.” This has an entirely different meaning. It is not genealogical, since it does not refer to an earthly father but the heavenly Father. An earthly father is most certainly an image of the heavenly Father, but the two cannot be conflated. The Pharisees who challenged Jesus had Abraham as their earthly father, and the devil as their heavenly father.

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and bhas nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” (John 8:44-47)

Based upon the relationship between the Father and the Son in heaven, that which is at the heart of earthly sonhood is Representation. This is why the Succession step of the matrix process often concerns physical offspring in many Old Testament passages. It refers to genealogical Succession in history, God’s faithfulness to many generations of the faithful. But the New Testament moves the goal posts. Instead of physical offspring, it puts Gospel messengers at this point in every instance. The emphasis has moved from earthly sonhood to heavenly sonhood, from sons of Adam to sons of God. The switch began at the baptism of Jesus, the only Adam who was both.

At Jesus’ baptism, the Father chose Him from among all the other circumcised sons of Israel. It is the same scenario as that which brought about the anointing of David. All the possible choices were circumcised in the flesh, but God looked upon the heart of Jesus. This heart alone pleased Him. David’s name means “Beloved,” and I have no doubt that this is why the heavenly Father says, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Since Christ was the only one who truly displayed Priestly submission, He was chosen to be King.

From that moment, Jesus, like David, was no longer under the authority of His earthly father. This was hinted at in the event of Jesus’ disappearance at age 12, a kind of “Firstfruits.” Baptism for every Christian is the point when the individual becomes directly accountable to his new Father, to Christ, and to Christ’s Church. As Jesus did, the baptizand bows to the authority of heaven that he or she might speak with the authority of heaven.

At the instant of Jesus’ baptism, there was only one true Jew, a brand new Adam. Just as Adam was a man without genealogy, whose Father was God, so for Jesus, all heredity, all circumcision and non-circumcision, was left behind in the water of baptism. This included allegiance to Abraham, the earthly father, since the heavenly Father had now revealed Himself for the first time in history.

So, what of circumcision? This is simple, indeed, so simple that it amazes me that so many bright Reformed theologians and Christians have not thought things through with any consistent logic, especially the ones who are aware of the dominion promises in Genesis 2. If Adam was faithful as the son of God, God would make Adam a father. Both the womb and the land would be opened to him, producing their fruit in season, just as Adam had produced the fruits of righteousness, a circumcised heart, to his own Father. In Abraham, the “Great Father” who was by nature barren, both the curse and promise concerning the land and the womb were repeated. Canaan was initially barren, but we will deal with that another time (it’s quite fascinating!) and of course Sarah was barren. Circumcision was given to Abraham because he was faithful. It was a symbolic “pruning” that both the womb and land might be opened. At every point, the Firstfruits was to be given to God, including Isaac. Baptism is a rite not for the inheritance but for the inheritor. The “architectural” background of all the Psalms is Edenic.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
(Psalm 127:3-5)

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
who walks in his ways!
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
who fears the Lord.
(Psalm 128:1-4)

You can see from the diagram above that baptism is a rite that concerns circumcision of heart (things above: the Edenic Laver/Spring) that God might bless the believer with fruitfulness (things below: the Bronze Altar-Land). With the coming of Christ in the flesh, the promises to Abraham were fulfilled. The relationship of heredity to the Covenant was removed forever. It no longer mattered whether one was a Jew or a Gentile. The only household is the household of faith. The only sonhood is submission to the Father by the faith of the Son. A baptism which does not discern between the fruit of the womb (Land: below) and the fruit of the tomb (Garden: above) is anti-Christ, denying He has come in the flesh. Why do many of the world’s best Bible teachers, including many friends, fail to see this practice for what it is, especially those who know their way around biblical architecture?

Baptism is thus not about generation but regeneration. James Jordan claims that “regeneration” refers not to individuals but to the regeneration of the world in general, thus unregenerate offspring can be included in this process. But that is not the picture given in Scripture at all. Once again, the image is conflated with the original, the source confused with the result. And all the support given for paedobaptism relies on “Abrahamic” verses, texts about the earthly image. [2] In paedobaptism, the heavenly Father is conflated with earthly fathers, and the heavenly Son who, like Melchizedek has no genealogy, no earthly father, is confused with the sons of Aaron for whom genealogy was crucial.

If the Lord had slain Adam and Eve for Adam’s sin, it is obvious that the fruit of the womb and the land also would have been cut off. But Adam’s death was the source of this lack of natural fruit. Adam’s death had to do with his relationship to the heavenly Father. So baptism is not related to either the fruit of the Land or the fruit of the womb. It has to do with the fruit of righteousness, and these other things are only the result of that initial “Garden” fruit. Jesus’ death as Adam was prefigured in His baptism. He was not sprinkled or poured upon by John. He was submerged, slain, like the entire world during the Physical Flood, like Israel under Babylon and Rome in Social Floods. Only submersion pictures the complete end of the Old Order and the beginning of the New. The dove is never present over the Land, but only over the waters. If you have never been immersed, you have failed to publicly testify as Jesus did, that the old is gone and the new has come.


A paedobaptism is a false testimony. It says that a son of Adam is by nature a son of God. Even Jews would never claim such a thing. Every “begat,” every “bar,” was a testimony to earthly lineage. Even they understood the difference between physical offspring and those who represented not their earthly fathers but the heavenly Father. A son of God is one who has Sanctuary access not by the flesh but by the Spirit because they please God, having been slain and lifted up like Ezekiel, leaving that fiery courtroom as His representative on earth, to divide between light and darkness with his words as Adam did not and Jesus did. Jesus did not come to have earthly sons but heavenly ones (Hebrews 2:13), images of Himself not Physically or Socially but Ethically.

Now, my friends like to claim that their sprinkled children have Sanctuary access because they received the Spirit in their baptism and are now a child of God. Some even claim that infants who have not heard the Gospel have faith in God (the stupidity of this still blows me away. Who needs the Gospel, then?). This all stems from their unwillingness to discern the difference between earthly parents and the Eternal Parent, the image and the reality. Here is an example from my otherwise wise friend Toby Sumpter, who tweeted:

 Christians who spank their kids in love are high sacramentalists: they believe the Spirit saves souls through material means (Proverbs 23:14).

This is as confused as the claim that infants are believers because they trust God on their mother’s breast (Psalm 22:9). The Psalmist conflates the heavenly with the earthly poetically because one leads to the other, but they are not the same thing. The natural comes first, and then the spiritual. It is a process of maturity. The entire point of baptism is that one no longer needs to be spanked by one’s parents because one now serves the Father in heaven. Again, baptism is for the inheritor, not the inheritance, for the earthly father, not his babies. When Jesus blessed the children, who was the baptised one? It was Jesus. Somehow, everyone overlooks the obvious because they are looking for support for something else.

The blindness involved in such teaching mystifies me. Baptism is for heavenly sonhood and confers Sanctuary access as a representative of the Father. The only choice for paedobaptists is to eliminate the efficacy of baptism (and deny Sanctuary access) or to maintain the efficacy and minimise the requirement for heart circumcision. Both are really stupid, unbiblical ideas, and the solution is incredibly obvious. But I have no doubt they’ll keep fighting over this for decades to come, trying to unite heaven and earth by the will of man rather than by the true work of God in the hearts of contrite men and women, relying on badly composed, complicated statements by Reformers whose typological skills were not far removed from the sophistries of Rome, and thinking that because they have been sprinkled, witnessed so many sprinklings, and perhaps even performed their own sprinklings, this perversion must be the work of God. (I would draw a helpful diagram to demonstrate the difference between a womb and a tomb, but I haven’t got a crayon. I’m sure you can work it out.)

I hate paedobaptism because I love the Bible, which spits it out at every opportunity. But I also hate paedobaptism because I love the Gospel of repentance and faith, and an inheritance of the Spirit which expresses itself in willing identification with the sufferings of Christ. If this is offensive to you, you neither understand the promises to Abraham, or the promises in Christ. They are very different things, as different as the heavens are from the earth. They are obscured by well-meaning but carnal doctrine.

[1] Penelope Trunk, 3 Things you need to know about people with Asperger’s.
[2] With such a misguided foundation, it is little wonder that my friend Luke Welch takes things to such shocking but logical conclusions. Apparently, the children of Christians are like Aaronic priests, who were symbolic sacrifices for sin.

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6 Responses to “Children of Heaven”

  • Travis finley Says:

    Asperger/BM syllogism

    A. Aspergerits are genius BMers
    B. I don’t get BM
    C. THEREFORE I do not have aspergers

  • Mike Bull Says:

    I hope you don’t. But I’ve seen you make plenty of observations everyone else missed. And you just need to practice your parsing more.

  • Mike Bull Says:

    It could just mean you are not a data analyst. ;)

  • Billy Brewer Says:

    What do you mean by efficacy of baptism?

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Thanks Bill

    Good question. Baptism is a public vow, a New Covenant profession of the name of Jesus. Since the biblical pattern is rule in heaven (Head) followed by rule on earth (Body),* I believe repentance and faith puts one into the Head (enthroned with Christ), and baptism puts one into the Body, with authority on earth to represent Christ in heaven. Another way to put it is the knighthood analogy: the baptizand submits to the sword from heaven that he/she might bear that sword on earth as a Covenant mediator, a witness, a prophet. If the vow is broken, he/she is put back under the Gospel sword in Church discipline and called to repent. If the baptizand does not repent, there is no chastisement from the heavenly Father, and their profession is false. The Church’s discernment of spiritual fruit through love and discipline is to make the earthly role resemble the heavenly one. Infant baptism merely attempts to sanctify an earthly “stoicheian” relationship. See the previous post linked above: Exposed to the Elements.

    *Obviously this refers to Christ’s ascension and the following apostolic witness, expanded in the Firstfruits Church’s ascension and the subsequent witness of the Church since then. My favourite prefiguring of this is the “ascension” of the Ark of the Testimony (taken like Enoch and Elijah as Firstfruits, and later seen in heaven in the Revelation) and the rule of the Body begun by the “Pentecostal” Lampstand in Babylon (Daniel 5:5).

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Happy to answer any other questions this raises (it is a complete paradigm and cannot be taken piecemeal) – Questions may also be answered in the articles in the Baptism link at top of home page.