Was Anyone Baptized Before John the Baptist?

Dove-tailing my Born-Again post, my next question that arose in my mind was this one.

We have previously explored the question in this blog of did anyone go to heaven before Jesus (see discussion here).  It was determined that Jesus went first and then those who had been awaiting to enter heaven did so.

I believe this: One does not have to be baptized to get into heaven; one only has to accept Jesus into their heart.  Others said one must be baptized to reach heaven and quoted scripture as well.

So when did baptism arise and what’s it purpose?

John the Baptize began baptizing people before Jesus.  John the Baptize baptized Jesus and in so doing, “The Spirit descended on him like a dove…and a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Mark 1:10

Was John the Baptist the first to begin baptizing people?

I believe so, yes.  He is called John the Baptist, right?

Then Jesus came along, was baptized, and commissioned his disciples to do the same.

I have concluded with two links.  One describes how the Old Testament leads up to baptism and even says how the flooding of the earth and the crossing of the Red Sea was a form of baptism.

It’s interesting so I’m including it here.

But baptism to me is accepting of Christ so I’m hesitant to see how these above examples could be baptism in the modern sense of the word when Christ didn’t exist yet.

This second link does a great job about explaining baptism and its purposes here.

I’m curious as to what your knowledge/opinions are on the history of baptism.