John the Baptist was “foretold in the Old Testament Prophets” by Malachi and Isaiah. John was foreknown by the determinate council of God. The birth of John was spoken of by an angel of the Lord.
Luke 1:13-15…But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.
When John appeared and began his ministry in Israel Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled. John the Baptists’ ministry prepared Israel for the coming Messiah. How? His baptism allowed them to repent from a backslidden state and worship Christ as the promised Messiah. John’s service within Israel was confirmed in the records of the Four Gospels.
God spoke through Malachi the Prophet saying that He would send His messenger before the Lord. The messenger that came before Christ was John the Baptist.
Mal 3:1…Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in:
John declared he was a prophetic voice for God that cried in the wilderness.
Matt 3:1-3…In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
John the Baptist was God’s forerunner to the Messiahship of Christ. John’s Baptism was God’s way for Israel (who had gotten away from the moral requirements of the Torah) to accept and worship Christ as Israel’s promised Messiah. This was prophesied by Isaiah the Prophet.
Isa 40:3…The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
John the Baptist was sent by God
John 1:6…There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
John was sent by God to carry out the Divine commission of water baptism in Israel. John’s commission as a Levite Priest allowed backslidden Israel to be purified with waters of purification which in turn allowed backslidden Israel repentance, remission of sins, and eligibility to worship Christ as the Promised Messiah.
John 1:33…And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost
The reason; John’s baptism separated and purified Israel from the tradition of the Elders that tainted Israel from keeping the Torah.
Matt 15:2-3…Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
John’s baptism specifically pointed to Christ as the Messiah. John’s service as a Baptizer (sprinkling waters of purification according to Numbers 8) came from the Law of God..the Torah.
Num 8:7…And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purifying upon them,
John the Baptist prepared Israel for the Messiahship of Christ. John’s service as a Baptizer also baptized Christ to carry out His earthly ministry according to the Law of God.
Within John’s Divine commission he was also sent by God to preach the Kingdom of Heaven message in Israel.
Matt 3:1-2…In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
The Kingdom of Heaven was the promised restoration to Israel where Christ would reign as King from His earthly Throne in Jerusalem.
Jer 23:5…Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
Zech 8:3-8…Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the LORD of hosts. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.
John the Baptist had a legal right according to Law to sprinkle waters of purification because he was a Levite by bloodline and birth. Christ called John the Baptist a reed shaking in the wind.
Matt 11:7… And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
A reed (hyssop) was an instrument used by a Jewish minister to sprinkle waters of purification and/or blood for the use of ceremonial cleansing under the Law of Moses. Hebrews 9:19
John was the son of Zacharias who was a Levite. John’s bloodline was of Levitical descent. According to the Torah firstborn sons of Levites were set aside by God to minister to the congregation of Israel. Levites were thus chosen by God to do a Divine service for the children of Israel.
Deut 18:6-7…And if a Levite come from any of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourned, and come with all the desire of his mind unto the place which the LORD shall choose; Then he shall minister in the name of the LORD his God, as all his brethren the Levites do, which stand there before the LORD.
John’s baptism was a Divine commission given from the council of God
John 1:33… And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me,
John’s baptism superseded traditional washings and the customs of Pharisee’s and Elders that made the commandment of God of none effect. Because of the attitude of these unbelieving Pharisee’s they rejected the council of God (The Torah).
Luke 7:30…But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.
The Sanhedrin and synagogues were also products of the tradition of the Elders which stemmed from Talmudic teachings. Talmudic teachings (which would take a lifetime for any scholar to understand) were derived from Israel’s interpretation of the Torah. The Talmudic writings originated while Israel was in captivity during the Medo-Persian, Grecian, and Babylonian captivities.
John the Baptist was recognized by his disciples as a Rabbi, which means teacher of the Law.
John 3:26…And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.
Christ called John the Baptist…more than a Prophet.
Matt 11:9-10…But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee
John’s preaching allowed all of Israel and Judea to repent and accept the Messiahship of Christ. Mark 1:4, 5 John’s baptism separated many in Israel from the tradition of the Elders that deviated Israel from the moral standard of the Law. Tradition and customs blinded the eyes of Israel from the purity and holiness of the Torah. John’s ministry opened blind eyes and showed Israel a way to receive the coming of Christ. When Israel received the baptism of John they were able to accept and worship Christ as the promised Messiah.
John’s baptism was commissioned by the Council of God. John’s baptism set apart those in Israel who received the waters of purification, acknowledged the Law, and recognized the coming of the Messiah. John’s Baptism was received in Israel as an act of faith by those who accepted the Messiahship of Christ.
John’s baptism was moral purification from the uncleanness of tradition and Israel’s interpretation of Law…to cleanness according to the moral requirements of the Torah.
Repentance and confessions of sin were wrought in people throughout Israel because of John’s Baptism.
Mark 1:4-5…John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
John’s preaching and his baptism enlightened Israel enough to turn them from the tradition of the Elders and mans interpretation of the Law through the Talmud. The Word of God came unto John in the wilderness.
Luke 3:2…the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness
This Word was according to the authority of Law, not the tradition of the Elders or man’s interpretation of the Law through Talmudic teaching’s.
John baptized Christ according to Law. The Law required Christ first to be thirty years old; second to be sprinkled with waters of purification before he could minister in the Temple, do service for the Lord, and teach the Torah.
Num 4:3…From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.
Num 4:30…From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old shalt thou number them, every one that entereth into the service, to do the work of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Christ had to obey the Torah in every detail in order to be without sin. Christ could not disobey the Law of God in any respect. Why? To be a perfect sacrificial offering for the sins of humanity Christ had to be in perfect obedience to the Law of God. If Christ didn’t keep the Law to the letter, he would have sinned against God! Christ was the only man that ever lived that was without sin.
Ps 1:1-2…Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
John’s baptism allowed Christ to do the work of the ministry and preach the Kingdom message to Israel, according to Law. That’s why Jesus said, “Suffer it to be so, now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness”.
Matt 3:15…And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.
John’s baptism of Christ fulfilled all righteousness through the requirements of Divine Law.
Questions arose between John’s disciples and the Jews concerning John’s Baptism and waters of purification.
John 3:25…Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying.
Why questions about purification? Israel’s interpretation of Law through tradition and Talmudic teachings had led them into religious rituals, diver’s washings, and various Jewish customs that were not taught in the Torah. From the Babylonian captivity Israel had deviated from the Law of the Torah. By not keeping the moral demands of the Law Israel was blinded and rejected the truth about Christ. John’s baptism made Israel accountable to Divine Law thus turning them toward acceptance of Christ as the promised Messiah. John’s Baptism had Divine purpose to sway Israel to an acceptance of the Messiahship of Christ. Many in Israel acknowledged the authority of John’s baptism as a fulfillment of prophecy. Many in Israel knew John the Baptist was a Levite and had a legal right to minister waters of purification. Many in Israel knew John was a Prophet sent by God to prepare the way of Israel’s promised Messiah.
John’s baptism confirmed the truth of the Word written and spoken by the Prophets. John’s baptism made Israel accountable to Law of God. Accountability to the Law of God enabled the common Jewish people to repent, to confess their sins, and prepare the way for Israel to accept Christ as the Messiah. Remember Israel was backslidden from the Law of God! The Law of God required even more from the Pharisees and the Lawyer’s who had pledges and ties to the Levitical order of Judaism. That’s why John first warned the Pharisee’s and Lawyer’s of the Wrath to come and second told them to bring forth fruits meet for repentance. If John’s Baptism was something “new” to the Pharisee’s and Lawyer’s, God would not have held them accountable for their lack of knowledge. The Scriptures teach the Pharisee’s rejected the council of God in John’s baptism. John’s baptism through the Council of God was “not something new” to the Pharisee’s and Lawyer’s. It was according to Law!
Luke 7:30…But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.
That’s the reason why John treated the High Priests, Pharisee’s, and Sadducee’s whom he called Vipers different from the common Jewish people. He strongly admonished these leaders of the Jews, “Who hath warned you to flee the Wrath to come”. Unlike the common people He told these Elders in Israel to bring forth fruit meet for repentance.
Matt 3:7..But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Luke 3:2-7…Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness; And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come
All the land of Judea and Jerusalem went out to be baptized of John.
Mark 1:5…And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
“All of Israel” recognized that John was a Prophet sent from God. That’s why the Pharisee’s were nervous when Christ asked them if John’s Baptism was from Heaven or men. The Pharisee’s refused to admit that John’s Baptism was Heaven sent. On the other hand they were afraid the people would want to stone them if they admitted that John was truly a prophet sent by God.
Luke 20:4-8…The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not? But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet. And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was. And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
John’s Divine commission to preach and baptize was to “all of Israel and the land of Judea”. John the Baptist was the last record in the Bible of a Levite priest. There are no records found in the Bible that John ever baptized a Gentile.