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Friday, February 17 2017

The Life Of John: From The Mountains To The Valleys

"Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low"

Israel overall (Galilee in the north, Samaria in the central region, Judea in the south), and Judea in particular, have extreme variations in topography, ranging from the inland hills and mountains, some of which is desert, to sea level at the Mediterranean Sea, and far below sea level at the Salt Sea / Dead Sea which forms a major section of the Jordan Valley.

The satellite photograph below shows the Mediterranean Sea at the left, the Sea of Galilee in the top center, and the Jordan River flowing through the Jordan Valley (which exists because it's a major earthquake fault; see the Fact Finder question below) to the Salt Sea / Dead Sea at lower right (see also The Salt Sea In History And Prophecy). Jerusalem is located in the hill country west (to the left) of the top (northern) coast of the Salt Sea / Dead Sea.


John the Baptist's father served as a Temple Levite in Jerusalem (see What Did John The Baptist's Father Do At The Temple?). As such, John would have been well-familiar with the hills and mountains (e.g. the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives) of the city of Jerusalem, as well as the valleys (e.g. the Hinnom Valley, the Kidron Valley) that border and intersect the city.

"1:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: 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. 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, 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.

1:18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.

1:19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. 1:20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season." (Luke 1:5-20 KJV)


Although John's father worked in Jerusalem, he lived with his wife Elizabeth (see The Miraculous Birth Of John The Baptist) in a town in the nearby hills of Judea. As such, John would have experienced life in "the big city" as well as a small town.

"1:39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; 1:40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. 1:41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 1:42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 1:43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 1:44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 1:45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord." (Luke 1:39-45 KJV)

"1:57 Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son." (Luke 1:57 KJV)

"1:62 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. 1:63 And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all." (Luke 1:62-63 KJV)

Later, when John's ministry began (see The John The Baptist Prophecies), he lived in the valley of the Jordan River after his calling that came when he was in a desert of the hill country (likely the Negev; see The Negev Of Israel). Amazingly, the mandate for his prepare-the-way ministry was "Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low."

"3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, 3:2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3:3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; 3:4 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. 3:5 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; 3:6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

3:7 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? 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin 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. 3:9 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." (Luke 3:1-9 KJV)

Fact Finder: How will the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem be split in two on the day of the Messiah's return?
See What's Going To Happen To The Mount Of Olives?

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This Day In History, February 17

364: Roman Emperor Jovian died. He reigned only eight months (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).

1370: The Battle of Rudau during the "Crusades" (see A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).

1461: During the Wars of the Roses, the Yorkists were defeated by the Lancastrians at the Battle of St. Albans.

1600: Giordano Bruno, scientist and mathematician whose theories were ahead of his time, was burned as a "heretic" in Rome during the Inquisition.

1759: British army commander James Wolfe sailed from Britain to capture Quebec from France. The political future of Canada was settled at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham near Quebec City on September 13 1759. Both commanders, Major General James Wolfe of Britain and Lt. General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm of France were killed in the battle.

James Wolfe and Louis-Joseph de Montcalm

1772: The first partition of Poland, by Russia and Prussia (Prussia is in Germany), also later by Austria.

1776: The first volume of Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (now commonly shortened to The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire) was published.

Gibbon was also a member of the democratically-elected British Parliament in the time of the revolution of the New England colonies. While propagandized "history" now incorrectly declares otherwise, King George III was not a dictator - Legislation was debated and voted into law by elected members of Parliament (including the various Acts that applied to the British citizens in the New England colonies) and then merely ratified "in the King's Name" (as the custom of law continues today). King George III had no more executive "dictatorial power" than a modern day president of a republic (in fact, much less than most; see also Why Are Politicians Called Left Or Right? and When Do Liberals Become Conservatives?).

Edward Gibbon

1863: A group of people in Geneva, Switzerland established the International Committee for Relief to the Wounded. It later became known as the International Committee of the Red Cross, commonly known today simply as the Red Cross.

The Red Cross

1864: A Confederate hand-propelled submarine, armed with a ram torpedo, sunk a Union ship off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. It is considered the first successful attack by a submarine.

1875: Friedrich Argelander died at age 76. The Prussian (Prussia is in Germany) astronomer established the study of variable stars as an independent branch of astronomy. He is renowned for his catalog which lists the positions and magnitudes of 324,188 stars - the Bonner Durchmusterung was the result of 25 years of observational work.

1909: Arizona-born Apache chief Geronimo died at age 80. "Geronimo" was the name given to him by Mexican troops during his homeland wars against Mexico and Texas (see also The First Chinese American War).


1919: Sir Wilfred Laurier died. He was the first French-Canadian to become Prime Minister of Canada (1896-1911).

1934: Albert I died at age 59. As Belgian king from 1909 to 1934, he commanded Belgian army during the First World War. He refused the German ultimatum of August 2 1914, demanding free passage of German troops across Belgium; the German invasion followed 2 days later. Albert was the son of Philip count of Flanders and Princess Marie of Hohenzollern. He married Elisabeth, the daughter of the duke of Bavaria.

1955: Britain announced that it had hydrogen bombs.

1957: The Suez Canal reopened after the Suez War between Israel and Egypt.

Suez War

1969: Russian-born, U.S.-raised, Golda Meir was sworn in as Israel's first female Prime Minister.

1972: The British House of Commons voted to join the European Community.

1996: World champion Garry Kasparov beat the "Deep Blue" supercomputer in a chess match.

1998: Voyager 1 became the most distant human-made object in space as it passed the distance set by the previous record holder Pioneer 10. On that day it was 6.5 billion miles from earth, traveling at 39,000 mph. It had been launched just over 20 years previous, on September 5 1977.

1998: Ernst Juenger died at age 102. The German writer was involved in the July 20 1944 plot to kill Adolf Hitler (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).


Copyright © Wayne Blank