Baptize is a violent word! It comes from a rough, tough background and has an aroma of death about it. When people of the first Century heard the Greek word baptize they not only thought of immersion – they thought of death.
Josephus, the famous Jewish historian of the first century, provides a vivid illustration of this point. The word baptize is found thirteen times in his writings, nearly every time in a context of destruction and death. His uses of the word include: to “sink” a ship; to “drown” an enemy; to “plunge” a sword into; and to “Bring down” a city to destruction. Josephus also tells about Herod the Great, who was jealous of the growing popularity of his handsome young brother-in-law, Aristobulus. Herod lured him into a swimming pool in Jericho and had his servants hold Aristobulus down and drown him. The word used by Josephus was baptize (Wars 1, 437 and Antiquities 15, 55).