THE NEW BIRTH
In this writing, as in all our articles, we use the Creator's true name as it is found in the original language of the scriptures. His personal name, as written in the English transliteration of the Hebrew, is "Yahweh". We also use the Savior's name, as we believe it would have been pronounced in the Hebrew/Aramaic when given to Him at His birth. That name in its English transliteration is Y'shua, or (to remove all ambiguity of pronunciation) "Yahshua". When correctly pronounced, this name contains the name of the Heavenly Father in its shorter form "Yah", and it means "Yahweh-Savior". For more information on this matter of the name of the Almighty and His Son listen to the audiotape "The Creator's True Name", and/or read the tract "The Word HalleluYah".
The importance of the new birth, or of being born again, is seen from the words of Yahshua as recorded in John 3:3-8: "Yahshua answered and said unto him, Truly, truly, I say unto you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Yahshua answered, Truly, truly, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto you, You must be born again. The wind blows where it will, and you hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell where it comes from, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."
From this account we see that a person can neither "see" nor "enter" the "kingdom of God" without first being born again. (I use the term "God" in its normal English sense of the Supreme Being, the Almighty One, whose name is "Yahweh"(.) What, then, is the kingdom of God? Why is it important to see and enter it? What does it mean to "be born again"? And, what part, if any do we play in being "born again"?
The term "kingdom" refers to a to a particular realm of life or existence. When we speak of the plant kingdom, the animal kingdom, etc., we are referring to those particular realms of existence (as ruled over by the laws that control those forms of life - plant life, animal life, etc.). When we speak of seeing and entering the kingdom of God, therefore, we speak of seeing and entering His realm of life (in which we are ruled over by His laws and kingship as the King of the Universe). You cannot "see" or "enter" Yahweh's realm of the life, or truly become subject to His kingship, without being "born again". Ephesians 4:18 tells us that the natural man, the man who has not been born again, has "...the understanding darkened" and is "alienated" (i.e., "separated") "from the life of Yahweh..." 1Coriinthians 2:14 tells us that, "...the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God ...neither indeed can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." That is to say, they can only be "discerned", or "seen in the mind", by the spiritual man. Until we are born again we cannot discern, or experience the benefits of Yahweh's realm of life.
As we read in John 4:24, "Yahweh is Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." Thus Yahweh's life is spirit life. Also, His life is eternal life.
We are told in I Corinthians 15:50 that, "... flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption." ("Corruption" speaks of degeneration, decay, ruination, etc. "Incorruption" speaks of immortality, of not being subject to decay, etc.)
We enter this present world by being born of a union of flesh and blood parents. Therefore, we are flesh and blood. In the words of Yahshua, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh." Flesh is subject to decay and death. Although we have a spirit (the spirit of man within us), in our natural birth state we are basically flesh and blood beings. Therefore, we are subject to pain, suffering, death and decay. The natural man, the one who has not experienced the new birth, is spiritually dead in the sense that He is cut off from direct communion with the Almighty, because of sin.
Mankind was originally created to live forever in contact, communion, or fellowship with his Creator, Yahweh. However, because he disobeyed Yahweh by eating of "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil", the original man, Adam (with his wife "Eve"), was cast out of the Garden of Eden. He, thereby, became separated from "the tree of life", which would have enabled him to live forever. We read about this in Genesis, chapter 3.
Some take this as a figurative story. Personally, I take it literally. But regardless of how a person takes it, the meaning is clear. Man was made to have everlasting life in righteousness, peace, and joy. But because of sin he lost it all and became subject to death and decay. He became separated from "the tree of life", because he became defiled by sin. Therefore, he became separated from the life of Yahweh, because Yahweh is pure and holy and cannot tolerate sin in His presence.
Furthermore, mankind's own conscience became defiled or darkened by sin, so that he hid from his Creator's presence. He could no longer bear to look upon or "see" Yahweh due his own defiled evil conscience. Thus, he lost contact with the very source of life and could no longer experience the life of Yahweh. He was now no longer a member of the kingdom of Yahweh, the kingdom light, but had become a part of the kingdom of darkness. He became subject to the authority of Satan and the powers of darkness or evil.
We read in 1 John 1:5,6 that, "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth."
Until we become "born again" we are all lost sinners. Romans 3:23 says, " For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Because our original forefather, Adam, sinned by disobedience in eating of "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil", we were all born with this mixture of knowledge which works in us to draw us toward sin. Therefore, when we reach the age of moral awareness - awareness of the idea of right and wrong - we sin. We become slaves to sin, and we come under the authority of Satan in his kingdom of darkness. Therefore, we have no "fellowship" with Yahweh, for He "is light and in Him is no darkness at all "(as we have read in 1 John 1:5).
The word translated "fellowship" is "koinonia" in Greek. It means "partnership, i.e. (lit.) participation, or (social) intercourse..." (per Strong's Concordance). Walking in sin - which is walking in darkness - breaks all participation with Yahweh and His life.
"Darkness" is that which hides the truth. It is whatever causes things to not be seen as they really are. "Light", on the other hand, is that which reveals things as they really are. Light shows true reality, whereas, darkness hides reality and brings deception.
The word "sin", as found in the statement, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of Yahweh", is translated from the Greek word "hamartia". "Hamartia" literally means, "to miss the mark". When we make our own appetites, wants, or desires the controlling force of our lives, doing what we want instead of making the will of our Creator our rule of life, we sin; we miss the mark. Until we are born again, that is the way of our lives. We live for self, with self-interest as the main factor in our lives. We live a life wherein satisfying our desires is our primary interest.
To live this way is to walk in darkness. It is living a lie for it is saying by our conduct that we, and the pursuit of our personal happiness, are the most important things. It is in effect thinking we will achieve true happiness if we can have unlimited fulfillment of our appetites and desires. Such a thought is deception. Our desires, called "deceitful lusts" in the Bible, deceive us into thinking that satisfying them will bring real happiness. This is a darkened way of understanding. It is not according to light, not according to the truth. The real truth is that, because He is infinite, our Creator is the most important One, and true happiness only comes by serving Him. His importance, ability to accomplish things, and capacity to experience happiness, are immeasurable, whereas, ours are limited. Our own importance, ability to accomplish things, and capacity to experience happiness, although great, since Yahweh made us in His image, are far below that of our Creator. He is first. Each of us is merely equal to our fellow humans in importance, basic ability to accomplish things and to experience happiness.
This is why all the law, all morally right principle, is summed up in the words, "You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might...and you shall love your neighbor as yourself." This is saying that our supreme goal in the pursuit of happiness (which is the only thing worth pursuing) should be the putting of Yahweh first. Seeking to please Him first and above all else, and putting the well being our fellow humans next -equal to our own - is the right way. It is the way of light.
The problem is that darkness has come upon us. Because of the propensity toward sin that we inherited from our forefather, Adam (due to his taking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and being cast out of the presence of Yahweh) we all sin and come under condemnation.
Naturally, when we are babies our world centers on ourselves. We learn to cry for our wants, as well as our needs, to be satisfied. As our thought processes develop we become accustomed to thinking only in terms of self even before we develop an ability to think logically and to express ourselves in words. Then, when we grow to the point where we understand that there is such a thing as right and wrong (when the knowledge of good and evil that we inherited from Adam becomes formed in our thinking) we are so accustomed to self being the center of our lives that we continue to follow our appetites and desires, both good ones and evil ones. We choose whatever most appeals to us and satisfies our physical, emotional and mental desires at any given time.
When the evil is more inviting to us, we do that. When the good is more inviting, we do that. But in either case we are living after the flesh. We are found to be living after our own desires, rather than living to please God for whom we were made. Our natural appetites and desires, therefore, become our masters. It is through these that Satan gains control and rules over us in his kingdom of darkness.
Until it becomes too damaged through misuse, our conscience, which exists in our mind or human spirit and is called "the candle of Yahweh", tells us we should always do the good. But the physical, emotional, self-centered, portions of our thinking often conflict with what is good at various times. The pull of sinful desire is very strong, and most of the time we give in to the evil desires even when in our minds we want to do the good. Many eventually silence their consciences by constantly ignoring that inner voice which says to do the good and shun the evil. Others struggle all their lives wanting deep within to do good, but finding the evil propensities (including the desire to satisfy natural drives in ways that are not good) are too strong for them to resist.
Paul, the apostle, put it this way in Romans 7:19-24: "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of Yahweh after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"
He was speaking of his natural condition as a fallen human being. This is the condition we are all in by nature. Although we have a spirit, we are basically flesh. And the appetites and desires of the flesh (including that part of our minds which responds to the flesh) are a mixture of good and evil. Since we are predominately flesh, and have very little strength of the spirit, we find it very hard not to live according to the fleshly desires.
In this natural, fallen condition we have very little of the light of Yahweh and His truth, remaining in us. We are ruled by the flesh, and therefore, by sin which dwells in the flesh. As we read in Romans 8:6-8, "For to be fleshly minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the fleshly mind is enmity against Yahweh: for it is not subject to the law of Yahweh, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please Yahweh." This way of walking after our fleshly desires is the way of sin, darkness, and death, "for the wages of sin is death...." (Romans 6:23a) "But", as the rest of that verse says, "the gift of Yahweh is eternal life, through Yahshua Messiah our Master."
Because He loved us so greatly, Yahweh sent His own son into the world to pay those wages for us. He sent His Son to die in our place as a sacrifice for us to pay the penalty of our sins. That penalty, death, is not just losing physical existence and then becoming annihilated, with no more existence in which to enjoy happiness. That would be bad enough. To live here 70, 80, or even 100 plus years and, then, just cease to exist would be bad enough. But, the fact is physical death is not the end. There is a judgment coming. As we read in Hebrews 9:27, "...it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."
In Daniel 12:2 we read, "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Matthew 25:46 says, "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." Revelation 14:10,11 speaks of everlasting punishment. It says, "The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of Yahweh, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night..." Whatever you think these scriptures mean they certainly do not present a pretty picture. As is written in Hebrews 10:31, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
However, as already mentioned, Yahweh sent His Son to pay for the sins of all mankind. As we read in John 3:16, "For Yahweh so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Yahshua of Nazareth, was indeed the very Son of Yahweh. Through His Holy Spirit Yahweh's own eternal life, His very own substance, had entered the womb of a Jewish virgin called Miriam (known today as "Mary") and brought about the conception of a male child who was born into this world as Yahweh's only begotten Son.
This man, Yahshua of Nazareth, lived a perfect life. He overcame Satan by resisting him as he, Satan, used the pressures of this world system, which play upon the natural desires, to seek to draw Yahshua away from Yahweh unto self-centeredness, and disobedience to Yahweh's law. Yahshua was the very manifestation and fullness of Yahweh in the flesh. Because He was so great and lived such a perfect life, the sacrifice of His life for our sins is complete vindication for the law of Yahweh when, because of His love, Yahweh forgives our sins (when we repent and turn back to Him). As the manifestation of Yahweh in the flesh, and as sinless Himself, Yahshua was the only man great enough to be able to pay for all sins of all humans for all time.
As the Governor of the Universe Yahweh would not have been just, or righteous, if He had set aside the penalty of our sins merely upon our asking forgiveness and deciding to turn back to Him. To carry out true justice, somehow the penalty of the law had to be paid. Otherwise the very law and government of Yahweh would have been undermined, bringing great harm to the universe. His law and government would have appeared to not be important. However, it is very important. Without it being upheld Yahweh, who is holy and cannot lie, would, in fact, become a liar, for He has said that the wages of sin, which is disobedience to His holy law, is death.
Yahshua, Yahweh's virgin born Son, was great enough that His death could pay for the sins of the whole world. His life, and death, are equal in value to the lives, or deaths, of all mankind, for all time. As we saw from John 3:16"... God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." No other sacrifice could be great enough to show how terrible sin is, or how important obedience to the law of Yahweh is to the well begin of the universe and to the honor of His great name.
The new birth is that activity of the Holy Spirit that causes a person to come to believe this good news that Yahweh sent His Son to die for our sins. It is that work of Yahweh's Spirit which causes the seed of Yahweh's word, especially the gospel, to take hold in our hearts and minds so that we come to the revelation and belief that this man, Yahshua of Nazareth (commonly known as "Jesus") is the Messiah, the Son of God. Thus He draws us to come to Yahshua to be set free from the guilt and power of sin in our lives, and to receive His indwelling presence by the Holy Spirit as the culmination of this new birth process.
In 1 John 5:1 it says, " Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Messiah is born of God: and every one that loves him that begot loves him also that is begotten of him." When the apostle Peter made his confession saying, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God", Yahshua said to him, "... flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 16:17) Yahshua said, " No man can come to me, except the Father who hath sent me draws him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, comes unto me." (John 6:44,45)
The new birth is spoken of as being by "water and the Spirit" as we read in John 3:5. Water, throughout the scriptures, speaks of cleansing. The word of Yahweh is what cleanses our heart by faith. Yahshua said in John 15:3, " Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." (Also see Eph.5:26, Psa. 119:9, et.al.) The Spirit is the Holy Spirit, which is in reality Yahweh Himself. (2 Cor. 3:17) [It is Yahweh as He makes Himself known in an invisible, but experienced, discernable way.]
We read in Ezekiel 36:25-27," Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them." (Heart of flesh in this passage refers to a tender, pliable heart as opposed to a stubborn, hard heart.) This is the promise of the new birth. It the promise of Yahweh's activity whereby He brings us into His own life, which is Eternal Life, under His kingship in His kingdom. He does this by the word and the Spirit. The Holy Spirit works with and through the word to cleanse our hearts and to create true faith within us.
When we come to believe the gospel (that Yahshua of Nazareth, is Yahweh's Son, the Messiah of Israel, that He came and died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day as seen alive of many witnesses) we are born of Yahweh by His word and Spirit.
However, it is not a casual assent to the facts of the gospel that is what the bible speaks of as faith that saves. It is more than that. The true belief is something of the heart. That is to say it is from the core of our being so that it determines the very course our lives take. In Galatians 5:6 we are told that the faith which counts is, the "faith which works by love".
Although the new birth is Yahweh's own work wherein He brings us to hear and believe the truth, nevertheless, it is an action that involves the free exercise of our will. This is why we have a final part in this birth. Our part is to be moved by Yahweh into the action that is in harmony with that belief. When we hear this good news that Yahweh sent His Son to die for our sins, and that His Son rose again, victorious over death, and that we can have eternal life through Him, the required action which corresponds to that belief is to repent and be immersed in His name for the remission of sins.
To repent is to change the mind. It is the decision to turn from walking in a life of sin and self-serving unto seeking to walk in a new direction with Yahweh. Immersion (called "baptism"2) is the act whereby we declare that, since Yahshua died in our place, we died in Him. Therefore, we become "buried in the likeness of His death". We read in Romans 6:3-8, "Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Yahshua Messiah were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Messiah was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Messiah, we believe that we shall also live with him."
When we hear this good news that, because of the death and resurrection of Yahweh's Son, we can get free from sin and the authority of the kingdom of darkness, and become "translated into the kingdom of His dear Son", believe it, and, therefore, repent and get baptized in Yahshua's name, we have come to true faith as defined in the bible. Then, we will be given the gift of the Holy Spirit, as the risen, glorified Messiah, to unite with our spirit to live in us and we in Him. This is the culmination of the new birth, by water and spirit. This is entrance into Yahweh's kingdom.
We read in Romans 14:17 "For the kingdom of God is ... righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit." This receiving of Yahweh's own Spirit, is the key to beginning the new life in His kingdom. It is as a result of the new birth that He brings us into righteousness, peace, and joy by the Holy Spirit. This kingdom life begins now and increases until we are changed into His complete likeness, body, soul, and spirit. This change into His likeness is completed at the coming again of Yahshua. The coming of the Holy Spirit to actually live in us, is Yahweh's life coming into us to cause us, as new born babes, to grow as we feed on the milk (and later on the meat) of His word. (I Peter 2:2; Hebrews 5:12-14)
We receive the gift of eternal life when we are thus brought to the new birth by the word of Yahweh cleansing our hearts through the illumination of the Holy Spirit. If we abide in Yahshua, we will continue to grown in the knowledge of Yahweh. Then, when He comes back to earth we who "are now the children of Yahweh" will become manifested as such, i.e., as the Sons of Yahweh. In Romans 8:23 this is called, "the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body." Our earthly, soulish bodies will, then, be changed into spiritual, glorified bodies such as Yahshua now has in His resurrected, glorified condition.
In Mark 16:15-16 Yahshua said, "... Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned." In preaching the first gospel message after Yahshua's death, burial and resurrection the apostle Peter said, " Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Yahshua Messiah for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as Yahweh our God shall call." You can only do this when, by the new birth, Yahweh has caused the truth that Yahshua is the Messiah, His Son, to be revealed to you. Then, as you respond by acting on that revelation you become a true believer. Thus it comes to be seen that you have been born again. In John 1:12,13 we read, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of Yahweh, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of Yahweh."
Never is the new birth spoken of as taking place in the future life of a believer, but only as something that has already occurred. After the new birth, it is just a matter of growing as children, and, then, finally becoming manifested as full grown, matured sons of Yahweh at Yahshua's return.
Yahshua Himself was born again in His resurrection from the dead (as is clearly indicated in Acts 13:33). He is called "the firstborn from the dead" in Colossians 1:18. In His resurrection He came into a new spirit form of life. (He is now no longer flesh and blood, but "flesh and bones" made into "life giving spirit" - Luke 24:39; 1 Cor. 15:45.) Yahshua had prayed, "And now, O Father, glorify me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world was." (John 17:5) In His resurrection this prayer was fulfilled when He took His body into that Divine glory so that He became a "life giving spirit" in His body of "flesh and bones". Yahweh, who by His Word had become human, by dying and rising again took His humanity back into the Divine glory. He did this that He might bring us as, "many Sons, into glory". (Hebrews 2:10)
Although this new birth took place for Yahshua by the Spirit at His resurrection, we do not have to wait until our resurrection to get in the Spirit and begin sharing His new life. In fact, we must do so in this present life, by becoming partakers of His resurrection life now through receiving the same Spirit that raised Him from the dead. Otherwise, we will not even enter into the final stages of having our bodies changed at His coming. If we are thus born again, of water and Spirit, we will also have our mortal bodies changed at when He returns. Romans 8:11 says, "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Yahshua from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Messiah from the dead shall also make alive your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you." We are to be looking forward to that time when He "shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." (Phil. 3:21)
Then, sin will then no longer be dwelling in us. The battle with the sinful flesh will have ceased. John says, in 1 John 3:3, "And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure". If Yahweh "has begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Yahshua Messiah from the dead", as Peter says in 1 Peter 1:3, we should be seeking to become like Him while looking forward to that time when the transformation shall be completed at His coming again.
In conclusion, let me ask, "Have you been born again?" Have you come to believe Yahshua is the Messiah the Son of Yahweh? Have you manifested that belief by being immersed in His name, for the remission of sins? Have you received the gift of the Holy Spirit as a member of His kingdom of "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit"? If not, we would like to help you. We would like to help you to come to hear the evidence that can be the seed Yahweh will use to lead you to believe, so that you can become joined unto Yahshua by immersion in His name, and can, then, receive His Holy Spirit, which is His own eternal, kingdom life in you.
You may even want to start now by asking Yahweh to bring you unto Himself. If you do already believe in Yahshua, and want this new life as a member of His kingdom of light, but have not yet received Him into your life, you could start by telling Him that you accept Him as your Savior and as your Master. Then, make plans to complete the process. "Repent and be immersed ...in the name of Yahshua the Messiah for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, for the promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even to as many as Yahweh our God shall call." (Acts 2:38,39)
Please contact us if you would like help into this glorious way of new life in Yahweh's kingdom.
Prepared by R.W. Young
1. I say this because there are some who object to using this common English term, because they connect it with the word "g-d" in Hebrew which is used as the name of a pagan Semitic deity, the "god of fortune or prosperity". We do not use "God" ("Gad" or "Gawd") in the sense in which this term was used in Hebrew, wherein it meant "good fortune, or prosperity". In Hebrew it was used as the name of a tribe of Israel, a prophet of Yahweh, and one of the gates of the restored temple mentioned in Ezekiel 48:44, as well as for the name of this false idol god as found in Isaiah 65:11. Again, the word in Hebrew simply means "fortune". It also means "coriander", and as Jacob indicated when blessing his sons (Gen.49:19) may carry the idea of "troop" as it is found in the larger Hebrew word, G-dud, which means, "troop".
It was not unusual for the heathen to have gods for various ideas, events, things, etc. and to use common words out of their language to apply to those idol gods. That this does not in itself make it improper to use those same words in their common ordinary sense is attested to by the fact that the writers of the bible used such words, including this one. This word "g-d", meaning "fortune", being applied to the false god called "Fortune" is an example of such an ordinary word being used to describe a false idol god. I do not consider it proper to use this, or any word, in place of, or as a substitute for, our Creator's only true personal name. However, I see no good reason not to use its English translations ("fortune", "coriander", or "troop"). Nor do I see any reason not to use the common English term "God".
2. The word "baptism" is merely a transliteration of the Greek word "baptisma", which translated means "immersion". In the bible usage immersion clearly portrays burial to your old self, and past life, in the death of Yahshua by being done in His name for the remission (or "sending away") of sins. (Romans 6:1-6 makes this very clear.)