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The Prophet Of The Judean Wilderness

The "wilderness of Judea" was a generally uninhabited area located between the depths of the Dead Sea (see The Salt Sea) and the highlands of Hebron. The prophet John (most-often called "John the baptist) lived out there at times, perhaps partly as a matter of choice, perhaps partly because the truth that he preached made him no longer welcome in Jerusalem (John's father was a Temple Levite in Jerusalem, so John had grown up in the city).

Jerusalem

"1:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia [see Levites]: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 1:7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

1:8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, 1:9 According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord [see Temples]. 1:10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.

1:11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 1:12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 1:13 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. 1:14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 1:15 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. 1:16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 1:17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias [see The Elijahs], to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." (Luke 1:5-17 KJV)

"And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah ... to make ready a people prepared for the Lord"

The purpose of John's ministry was to announce the arrival of The Messiah.

John

"3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea [see The Jordan River], 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3:3 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 [a quote of Isaiah 40:3; see notes for Isaiah 40-42].

3:4 And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. 3:5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 3:6 And were baptized [see The Origin of Baptism] of him in Jordan, confessing their sins." (Matthew 3:1-6 KJV)

John baptized people as a demonstration of their repentance. Is there also a "baptism" for those who refuse to repent? Yes, there is, as John warned the hypocritical Pharisees (see Baptism Of Fire).

"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? 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 3:10 And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with The Holy Ghost, and with fire: 3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the Garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." (Matthew 3:7-12 KJV)

Christ lived a life of example. His baptism was not a matter of repentance, but as a matter of what baptism also represents - resurrection (see Resurrections): "6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection" (Romans 6:3-5 KJV).

"3:13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 3:14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

3:15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens [see Heavens Below, Heavens Above] were opened unto him, and he saw The Spirit Of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:13-17 KJV)

Fact Finder: When John's work was completed, how did his ministry end?
See John's Last Days


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