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Friday, June 1 2012

The Ministries Of The Two Greatest Prophets

"For all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed"

John the Baptist was recognized as a prophet, by the general public, and even by the presumed religious authorities who had created a religion of their own "laws" and traditions that superseded what the LORD had actually given to Abraham and Moses (see Who Was Their Messiah?, Is Your Religion Your Religion? and The Church In The Wilderness). Ironically, while being a prophet was what eventually got John killed, it also protected him (apart from the protection of the LORD, until John's service was complete) too i.e. those who hated the Truth that John preached didn't do anything to stop him because "they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed."

The Jordan River

"11:29 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 11:30 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me.

11:31 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him? 11:32 But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed." (Mark 11:29-32 KJV)

Keeping in mind that the Messiah's own prophetic Ministry hadn't yet begun, the Messiah declared "there is not a greater prophet than John." That changed when John's ministry ended and the Messiah's Ministry began ("3:28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. 3:29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease" John 3:28-30 KJV), thereby thereafter making the Messiah the greatest prophet. By the Messiah's own words, the two greatest prophets of all time were Himself and John the Baptist.

"11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence [i.e. violation of God's Law; see Violence], and the violent take it by force. 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 11:14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. 11:15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Matthew 11:12-15 KJV)

"7:24 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 7:25 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts. 7:26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. 7:27 This is he, of whom it is written,

Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

7:28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." (Luke 7:24-28 KJV)

People came not to follow John, but to heed the warning that a greater prophet was coming. John prepared the way for the Messiah's coming, while the Messiah is preparing the way for God's coming (see The Church: Mission Accomplished).

"3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 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.

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 [see What Was Strange About John The Baptist?]. 3:5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 3:6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins." (Matthew 3:1-6 KJV)

John's ministry was a warning that salvation will be granted in accordance to genuine obedience to the LORD, not self-righteous religionism (see Christ Died For Repentant Sinners and What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16?).

The Jordan River

"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 [see also What Did Jesus Christ Say About 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 [see Moriah: Separating The Wheat From The Chaff]." (Matthew 3:7-12 KJV)

The baptism of the Messiah was the event that marked the end of the ministry of John and the beginning of the Ministry of the Messiah.

"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 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)

"Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people"

Immediately after the baptism of the Messiah, and thereby the beginning of His Ministry, Satan attacked in the series of incidents known as "the temptation of Christ."

Jerusalem

"4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written,

He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him." (Matthew 4:1-11 KJV)

The prophetic stage was then adjusted; John was arrested by Herod (see Lethal Lust) and Jesus moved from Nazareth, in the hill country, to Capernaum, on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee (see The Cities Of Lake Galilee).

"4:12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; 4:13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 4:14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,

4:15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:12-17 KJV)

The twelve apostles were then called.

Fishermen On The Sea Of Galilee

"4:18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 4:20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

4:21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother [see The Kinsfolk Of Jesus Of Nazareth], in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 4:22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him." (Matthew 4:18-22 KJV)

It was a smooth and effective transition for the disciples (disciple means student) of John to follow the Messiah - that's what John "prepared the way" for (see John's Congregation).

"4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. 4:25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan." (Matthew 4:23-25 KJV)

Notice, as we've read, that both Jesus and John were called prophets in deed - but only for those who believed the Truth that they taught. For all others, "he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief."

"13:54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 13:56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? [see The Kinsfolk Of Jesus Of Nazareth] Whence then hath this man all these things? 13:57 And they were offended in him.

But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.

13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief." (Matthew 13:54-58 KJV)

The famous "triumphal entry" happened because people recognized the prophet that was prophesied to come.

The Jaffa Gate In Jerusalem

"21:8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strowed them in the way. 21:9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying,

Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

21:10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?

21:11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

21:12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

21:14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them." (Matthew 21:8-14 KJV)

So too after His resurrection, the Messiah was "Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people."

"24:18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

24:19 And he said unto them, What things?

And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 24:20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 24:21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. 24:22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 24:23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. 24:24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.

24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." (Luke 24:18-27 KJV)

Fact Finder: Jesus of Nazareth and John the Baptist were true prophets. What is the Biblical term for false prophets?
See What's The Bible Word For False Prophet?


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This Day In History, June 1

193: Roman Emperor Marcus Didius was assassinated in his palace.

987: Hugh Capet was elected King of France.

1215: Ending the Battle of Beijing, the city was captured by Mongol forces under Genghis Khan.

1252: Alfonso X was elected King of Castile and Leon.

1609: In the wilderness of northeastern North America, Samuel de Champlain discovered (the native people already knew that the lake was there) the lake that was named after him - Lake Champlain.

1648: During the Second English Civil War, the Roundheads defeated the Cavaliers at the Battle of Maidstone.

1670: Charles II of England and Louis XIV of France signed the treaty of Dover (signed in Dover, England). It resulted in England becoming involved in the Third Anglo-Dutch War.

1679: The Scottish Covenanters defeated John Graham of Claverhouse at the Battle of Drumclog.

1813: During the War of 1812 (1812-1814), James Lawrence, the wounded commander of the USS Chesapeake (a 38 gun frigate with a crew of 340), uttered his famous final order, "Don't give up the ship!" while in a naval battle with the Royal Navy HMS Shannon (a 38 gun frigate with a crew of 330). The crew did anyway; the ship was captured by the Shannon and taken to Halifax, Nova Scotia where it entered service as the Royal Navy warship HMS Chesapeake.

1816: The rivalry between the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company erupted in violence in the Battle of Seven Oaks. While attempting to transport supplies, Metis allies of the North West Company clashed with 21 men from the Hudson's Bay Company post in Red River Colony, now Winnipeg. Robert Semple, governor for the Hudson's Bay Company, most of his party and 1 Metis were killed. The incident led to the eventual merger of the two companies.

1831: Sir James Ross discovered the position of the north magnetic pole.

1861: The first skirmish of the U.S. Civil War took place, at the Fairfax Court House in Virginia.

1867: Viscount Monck became the first Governor General of Canada. He had held the position in British North America and his term was to have expired in 1866, but Queen Victoria extended his appointment to give him the honor of being the first Governor General of the free, civilized democracy that he helped to create.

1915: Germany made the first zeppelin air raid over England.

1941: British forces entered Baghdad and returned the regent, six year-old King Faisal, to power.

1958: During the political crisis created by the civil war in Algeria, Charles De Gaulle became premier of France with the power to rule by decree for six months; a new constitution was drawn up, and in 1959 De Gaulle became the first president of "The Fifth Republic."

1961: The incinerated ashes of captured Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann were dumped into the sea outside the 3 mile territorial limit of Israel. He had been hung by the Israelis the day before.

1963: King Victor Emmanual III of Italy became Emperor of Ethiopia.

1963: In defiance of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling 10 days earlier that Alabama's segregation laws were unconstitutional, Alabama governor George Wallace stood at a school door and stopped black teenagers from court-ordered integration of the University of Alabama. President Kennedy responded by using federal troops to force integration.

1974: The new "Heimlich Maneuver" for saving choking victims was published in the journal Emergency Medicine.

1980: Cable News Network (CNN) began operation.

1991: Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted for the first time in 600 years.

2009: General Motors filed for Bankruptcy.





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