Since water baptism is associated with cleansing the nation of Israel for its ministry in her kingdom, where does the baptism of Gentiles under the commission of Matthew 28:19 fit in?
Once more, water baptism is again demonstrated to symbolize cleansing and again clearly associated with Israel's kingdom. Remember that the priests were not the only people to be baptized. In connection with the cleansing of lepers, Leviticus 14:9 instructs: "Also he shall wash his flesh in water, and he shall be clean." The "nations" of Matthew 28:19 were of course considered "unclean" by Israel and thus must be baptized be cleansed in order to gain access to Israel's kingdom and acceptance into God's favor. Both Israel and the Gentiles needed to be acknowledging their need for cleansing; the former in order to be worthy to minister the things of God; the latter to be the recipient of those things.