DISSECTING THE SCRIPTURES – No. 2
BY: DAVE and SHEILA GARNER
DECEMBER 14, 2007
The Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask John the Baptizer, “Who are you?”
He did not acknowledge who he was, but denied that he was the Messiah saying, “I am not the Messiah (the anointed one).”
And they asked him, “Then who are you, Elijah?”
And he said, “I am not.”
“Are you a prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
Then they asked him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say of yourself?”
He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet has said.” Isa 40:1-9; Mat 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4
And the men who were sent were of the Pharisees and they asked him, “Then why do you baptize if you are not the Messiah (the anointed one), Elijah, nor a prophet?”
John answered them saying, “I baptize in water, but there stands one among you whom you do not know. He is the one who comes before me, whose shoe latchets I am not worthy to loose.”
All of these things were done by the Jordan River beyond Bethany (Bethabara), where John was baptizing.
The next day John saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold (lo, look), the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Isaiah 53 “This is the one who I said comes before (ahead of) me, for He is first (above me). I did not know who He was, though I knew He would be revealed (manifested) to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.” And John testified saying, “I did not know Him until I saw the Spirit descend like a dove from the heavens and rest upon Him. He who sent me to baptize with water, He said to me, ‘The one upon whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, the same is He who immerses (baptizes) you with the Holy Spirit,’ and I do see and testify that this man is the Son of God.” Matt 3:11-17; Mark 1:7-11; Luke 3:16-17
FOR COMPARISON: TRADITIONAL KJV
John 1:19-34, And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. 21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. 22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? 23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. 24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? 26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. 28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. 29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 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. 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
JOHN THE BAPTIZER
The Gospel of John is vague about all that John the baptizer did and said, except he was obviously very vocal and had already caused a great stirring among the people, since the Jews sent out priest and Levites to question him. Even though John had a very short career the intensity and boldness of his proclamations, that very soon one would be revealed among them who was of even greater eminence than he was, obviously caused them great concern. John himself in just a short time had become very well known, enough so that people were flocking to him from everywhere and his message for them to repent and prepare to receive the coming Savior was spreading like wildfire. This caused the Jewish elders to begin investigating this wild man, as is evident by them sending the priest and Levites to find out who he was and by whose authority he performed the baptisms. Because he was causing such a stir among the people, it must have really caused them to become even more fearful when he said that he was just the one crying (out loud) in the wilderness for the people to repent and prepare their hearts, for there was one with even greater power coming after him.
It is clear that at least among the Jewish religious leaders there had been some question whether John might be the Messiah, if not Him, maybe the prophet Elijah who had been foretold would come. This does leave us with the clear indication that they believed in and were looking for a Savior to come, even though they did not accept Jesus as the Savior when He did appear.
Isa. 40:1-9, Elohiym (God) says, “Be repentant (Feel regretful, penitent), be repentant. Speak remorsefully (sorrowfully), call out against Jerusalem; for the host (army company) is full up with and pleased in (satisfied with) their iniquity and receives double of the hand of Yahweh for all sins. The voice of him who cries out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare (turn your face toward) the way of Yahweh and make straight the desert (in the sense of sterility) highway for our God (Elohiym). Every valley is raised (lifted) up, and every mountain and hill made low; and the crooked places become (made) straight, and the rough places, a wide plain and the glory of the LORD revealed, and all flesh will see together for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken it.’ The voice said, “Call out.” And he said, “What?” “Call out that all flesh is as the grass and all the beauty as the flowers of the field. The grass dries up and the flower wilts because the spirit of Yahweh blows upon it, and surely the people are as the grass. The grass dries up, the flower wilts but the word of our God (Elohiym) stands (rises) always (for ever).
Malachi 4:5-6, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and fearful day of Yahweh. And he will turn the father’s hearts to the children and the children’s heart to the father’s, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”
John the baptizer did not make any declarations concerning who he was, other than being the one who was sent to warn the people to repent and prepare their hearts and to make the way straight to receive the Son of God by being immersed, cleansed through the baptism of water. He refused to have the focus of the people upon himself, purposely exalting the preeminence and glory of Jesus above His own. If John would have proclaimed himself to be Elijah the people would have focused their attention entirely upon him, and would have neglected the arrival of Jesus. The Jewish people conducted their lives around their interpretation of the laws of Moses and the prophecies of old which were a major part of their heritage. The appearance of a prophet as famous as Elijah would have been a monumental event which would have caused an explosion of debate and speculation among the people, and John had no intention of drawing attention to himself. John knew he was not sent to proclaim his own glory, but was sent to prepare the people’s hearts to receive their salvation, Jesus the Messiah.
I thought it a point of interest to note that the earthly ministry of Jesus began not to far from Bethany and it was also the last place He stayed before going into Jerusalem to be crucified. According to “Thayer’s Greek Word Definitions” the word Bethabara means Bethany which means = “house of dates” or, “house of misery.” I will let you make your own conclusions upon how the events of His baptism and crucifixion correlate with the word meaning of Bethany.
John identified Jesus as the sacrificial lamb, the one who he had come to prepare the way for. Even though he had never seen Jesus prior to the baptism, he knew by the quickening of the Spirit who Jesus was as soon as he saw Him and proclaimed Him to be the Son of God, the one mightier than he who would cleanse the world of sin through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. John knew he had been sent by Yahweh (God) Himself to bear witness to the arrival of the Son (the Word) of God in the flesh. The fact that Jesus was the one he was to testify of and proclaim as being the Messiah, the long awaited for deliverer and Savior of the world, was confirmed to him when he saw the Holy Spirit, the favor and glory of the heavenly Father, descend and rest upon Him in the same way a dove would descend and rest (remain) upon a man.
The terminology used here describing the descending of the Holy Spirit, is a description of the heavenly Father honoring His Son by sharing communion with Him in the presence of witnesses, declaring and authenticating to the world that Jesus was and still is His beloved Son. The Spirit descended upon Him as a gentle, caressing touch which testified they were in intimate communion with one another. It is a picture of the Father quietly standing behind His son, displaying before the world the majesty, glory and grace of His eternal being, through the visible manifestation of the Holy Spirit upon His beloved Son. The terminology used by the translators describing the testimony of John, could leave one with the impression that the Holy Spirit came down upon Jesus for the first time and filled Him with its presence then. This is not the correct interpretation, as Jesus was the embodied essence of Spirit Word manifest in the flesh. Therefore He came forth from eternal substance in the form of a flesh and blood man, as the living Spirit Word of God made flesh, the essence of the Holy Spirit already abiding within Him as part of His being.
John clearly testified that he was the one who baptized by water, but Jesus was the one coming after him who would baptize (immerse) them into the Holy Spirit. John recognized a higher realm of the Spirit which Jesus was bringing forth into the world. Jesus is the only way to be baptized into the Holy Spirit, and it is only through Jesus the Anointed, that we have access to the Spirit of Truth, and thus be brought into the presence of the heavenly Father.
JOHN No. 2 [Dave-Sheila Garner] 12-14-07 ~ BIBLE STUDY 1