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November 20    Scripture



Bible Names H-M: John the Baptist


John the Baptist in Easton's Bible Dictionary the "forerunner of our Lord." We have but fragmentary and imperfect accounts of him in the Gospels. He was of priestly descent. His father, Zacharias, was a priest of the course of Abia (1 Chr. 24:10), and his mother, Elisabeth, was of the daughters of Aaron (Luke 1:5). The mission of John was the subject of prophecy (Matt. 3:3; Isa. 40:3; Mal. 3:1). His birth, which took place six months before that of Jesus, was foretold by an angel. Zacharias, deprived of the power of speech as a token of God's truth and a reproof of his own incredulity with reference to the birth of his son, had the power of speech restored to him on the occasion of his circumcision (Luke 1:64). After this no more is recorded of him for thirty years than what is mentioned in Luke 1:80. John was a Nazarite from his birth (Luke 1:15; Num. 6:1-12). He spent his early years in the mountainous tract of Judah lying between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea (Matt. 3:1-12). At length he came forth into public life, and great multitudes from "every quarter" were attracted to him. The sum of his preaching was the necessity of repentance. He denounced the Sadducees and Pharisees as a "generation of vipers," and warned them of the folly of trusting to external privileges (Luke 3:8). "As a preacher, John was eminently practical and discriminating. Self-love and covetousness were the prevalent sins of the people at large. On them, therefore, he enjoined charity and consideration for others. The publicans he cautioned against extortion, the soldiers against crime and plunder." His doctrine and manner of life roused the entire south of Israel, and the people from all parts flocked to the place where he was, on the banks of the Jordan. There he baptized thousands unto repentance. The fame of John reached the ears of Jesus in Nazareth (Matt. 3:5), and he came from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized of John, on the special ground that it became him to "fulfil all righteousness" (3:15). John's special office ceased with the baptism of Jesus, who must now "increase" as the King come to his kingdom. He continued, however, for a while to bear testimony to the Messiahship of Jesus. He pointed him out to his disciples, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God." His public ministry was suddenly (after about six months probably) brought to a close by his being cast into prison by Herod, whom he had reproved for the sin of having taken to himself the wife of his brother Philip (Luke 3:19). He was shut up in the castle of Machaerus (q.v.), a fortress on the southern extremity of Peraea, 9 miles east of the Dead Sea, and here he was beheaded. His disciples, having consigned the headless body to the grave, went and told Jesus all that had occurred (Matt. 14:3-12). John's death occurred apparently just before the third Passover of our Lord's ministry. Our Lord himself testified regarding him that he was a "burning and a shining light" (John 5:35).

John the Baptist in Smiths Bible Dictionary was of the priestly race by both parents, for his father, Zacharias, was himself a priest of the course of Abia or Abijah, 1Ch 24:10 and Elisabeth was of the daughters of Aaron. Lu 1:5 His birth was foretold by an angel sent from God, and is related at length in Luke 1. The birth of John preceded by six months that of our Lord. John was ordained to be a Nazarite from his birth. Lu 1:15 Dwelling by himself in the wild and thinly-peopled region westward of the Dead Sea, he prepared himself for the wonderful office to which he had been divinely called. His dress was that of the old prophets --a garment woven of camel's hair, 2Ki 1:8 attached to the body by a leathern girdle. His food was such as the desert afforded --locusts, Le 11:22 and wild honey. Ps 81:16 And now the long-secluded hermit came forth to the discharge of his office. His supernatural birth, his life, and the general expectation that some great one was about to appear, were sufficient to attract to him a great multitude from "every quarter." Mt 3:5 Many of every class pressed forward to confess their sins and to be baptized. Jesus himself came from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized of John. [JESUS] From incidental notices we learn that John and his disciples continued to baptize some time after our Lord entered upon his ministry. See Joh 3:23; 4:1; Ac 19:3 We gather also that John instructed his disciples in certain moral and religious duties, as fasting, Mt 9:14; Lu 5:33 and prayer. Lu 11:1 But shortly after he had given his testimony to the Messiah, John's public ministry was brought to a close. In daring disregard of the divine laws, Herod Antipas had taken to himself Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip; and when John reproved him for this, as well as for other sins, Lu 3:19 Herod cast him into prison. (March, A.D. 28.) The place of his confinement was the castle of Machaerus, a fortress on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. It was here that reports reached him of the miracles which our Lord was working in Judea. Nothing but the death of the Baptist would satisfy the resentment of Herodias. A court festival was kept at Machaerus in honor of the king's birthday. After supper the daughter of Herodias came in and danced the king by her grace that he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she should ask. Salome, prompted by her abandoned mother, demanded the head of John the Baptist. Herod gave instructions to an officer of his guard, who went and executed John in the prison, and his head was brought to feast the eyes of the adulteress whose sins he had denounced. His death is supposed to have occurred just before the third passover, in the course of the Lord's ministry. (March, A.D. 29.)

John the Baptist in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE LITERATURE I. Sources. The sources of first-hand information concerning the life and work of John the Baptist are limited to the New Testament and Josephus Luke and Matthew give the fuller notices, and these are in substantial agreement. The Fourth Gospel deals chiefly with the witness after the baptism. In his single notice (Ant., XVIII, v, 2), Josephus makes an interesting reference to the cause of John's imprisonment. See VI, 2, below. II. Parentage. John was of priestly descent. His mother, Elisabeth, was of the daughters of Aaron, while his father, Zacharias, was a priest of the course of Abija, and did service in the temple at Jerusalem. It is said of them that "they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless" (Lk 1:6). This priestly ancestry is in interesting contrast with his prophetic mission...

John the Baptist in Wikipedia John the Baptist (Hebrew: יוחנן המטביל, Yo-hanan ha-matbil, Arabic: يحيى‎ Yahyá or يوحنا المعمدان Yūhannā al-mamadan, Aramaic: ܝܘܚܢܢ Yokhanan) [1] was an itinerant preacher[2] and a major religious figure[3] who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River.[4] John was an historical figure [5] who followed the example of previous Hebrew prophets, living austerely, challenging sinful rulers, calling for repentance, and promising God's justice. John is regarded as a prophet in Christianity, Islam,[6] the Bahá'í Faith,[7] and Mandaeism. He baptised Jesus Christ. Some scholars maintain that he was influenced by the Essenes, who were semi-ascetic, expected an apocalypse, and practiced rituals conferring strongly with baptism,[8] although there is no direct evidence to substantiate this.[9] John's baptism was a purification rite for repentant sinners, performed in "living water" (in this case a running river) in accord with Jewish custom. John anticipated a messianic figure who would be greater than himself.[10] Jesus may have been a follower of John.[4][11] Herod Antipas saw John as a threat and had him executed.[3] Many Christian theologians believe that the ministry of Jesus followed John's, and some of Jesus' early followers had previously been followers of John.[12] Both John and Jesus reportedly preached at times of great political, social, and religious conflict...

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