The baptism of John and believers baptism are not the same thing. The basic idea behind “baptism” is identification. Whenever you are baptized, you identify with a person and/or message and/or group. In fact, baptism was a Jewish practice long before it became a messianic practice. Among the things that Gentiles had to do when they converted to Judaism was to be baptized. When Gentiles were baptized into Judaism, they were identifying themselves with the Jewish people and Judaism as their religion. In believers baptism you identify with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-23).
In the case of John’s baptism, those who were baptized by Yochanan, which was a baptism of repentance, identified themselves with his message and prepared themselves to accept the Messiah and His Kingdom. John’s message is not the same as believers baptism. That is why those who were baptized by John later had to be baptized again into believers baptism. One example of this can be found in Acts 19:1-7 where disciples that had been baptized by John the Baptist were re-baptized into believers baptism. They had received the message of Yochanan. They committed themselves by John’s baptism to accept the Mashiach once He was made known. Unfortunately, they had left Isra’el before Jesus was identified as the Messiah. When they met Rabbi Sha’ul in Ephesus, he told them who the Messiah was. In keeping with their commitment when John baptized them, they received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and so Paul proceeded to baptize them into believers baptism because John’s baptism was not the same thing. We should keep in mind that the baptism Jesus underwent was not proselyte baptism, nor was it what we would call today believers baptism, but it was John’s baptism.216