WHO WAS
JOHN THE BAPTIST?

By Jake Hiebert

   It is within the pages of the Bible that we look for
the answers to the many questions posed for us
about John the Baptist.   Was John the Baptist, a
New Testament figure or did he belong to the Old
Testament?   Did he bring New Testament baptism or
was it Old Testament ritual?   Did Israel have a
baptism that was the same in mode, purpose, and
was Israel the authorized agency to perform such an
act by way of a commission?   Was John's baptism
Christian?   And was John a part of the Bride?   Who
was John the Baptist???

I. The Name "John the Baptist."   Matt. 3:1

   Interestingly enough that those who would write

of John the Baptist, want to make him no more than
a Mascot of Christ.   But Scripture clearly identifies
him, with the designation allotted him by the God of
Heaven.   "In those days came John the Baptist,
preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, ..."
  This now
is not man's recognition but God's designation of
him.

   Let's look at 2 other scriptures which add to his
identification:
   1.) John 1:6, "There was a man sent from
God whose name was John."
  Few men in the
Scripture have so been Divinely sent and
Divinely designated for us.   He was a very
special person.
   2.) Matt. 11:11, "Verily I say unto you,
Among them that are born of women there hath not
risen a greater than John the Baptist."
  What a
tribute to a specially prepared servant of God
who faithfully carried out the purposes for
which he was sent.

II. The Value of the Designation "the Baptist."

   A. First, we can see where the term "the Baptist"
separates him from all others that are called by the
name of John.   But other things would have
separated him from the other Johns in the Scripture.
e.g. His dress of camels hair and a leathern girdle
about his loins (Matt. 3:3,4).   The food he ate -
locusts and wild honey; the place where he abode
and where he preached his messages (the wilder-
ness), even the message that he preached would
have set him apart as being different than other
people named John.
   B. Secondly, the term "the Baptist" in Matt. 3:1
is a noun not a verb.   It is not simply trying to tell us
that he was the one baptizing, for he had not yet

baptized any one when the name "the Baptist" was
given him and so recorded in the Inspired Word of
God.

III. Spiritual Facts About John the Baptist.

   A. An angel of the Lord announced his coming to
parents too old to have children and to a wife who
was barren, Luke 1:8,11.
   B. The name John was given by the angel before
conception, Luke 1:13.
   C. He was not a Nazarite as was Samson and
others, but he was not to partake of alcohol, Luke
1:15.
   D. He would be "filled with the Holy Ghost, even
from his mother's womb,"
Luke 1:15.   The word
"filled" is a future, passive term that designates the
action of someone else outside the subject that
would possess the mind of the person and so to fill it.
The same root word is in Luke 5:26.
   While we must carefully recognize the hand of
God controlling in his birth and life, yet it is
necessary to not lose sight of the fact that John was
not a miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit, as
was the Birth of Christ.   But there was a control of his
life by the Spirit in order to fulfill his purpose for
being sent.

IV. The Fourfold Purpose For Sending
John the Baptist.

   It was the ministry of John the Baptist that marks
the end of the Old Testament dispensation of Law
and the Prophets.   It is true, there is some Old
Testament identification, in that he was born under
the law, but he marks the end of the period known as
the Law and the Prophets, Matt. 11:12,13; Luke
16:16.   It can not be more precisely stated.   This
clearly conflicts with the modern view of the

protestant, interdenominational and non-denomina-
tional organizations who either have John in a
transitional period (what a state to be in, never quite
knowing where you are) or accepting the day of
Pentecost as the change of dispensation.   But the
Law and the Prophets were until John.   Check it out.

   A. John was a Forerunner -- Sent as an
announcer of the coming Christ (Mk. 1:2,3; Matt.
3:3).   He was "the voice of one crying in the
wilderness,"
preparing the way for the Messiah.
   1. Isaiah predicted the coming of the one who
would cry in the wilderness and prepare the way of
the Lord.   Isaiah 40:3.
   2. The Announcer and the announcement were
to catch the attention of Israel, Matt. 3:3.   He is
identified as having been predicted by Esaias
(Isaiah).
   B. He was a Messenger -- Sent with the Gospel.
   1. His message "Repent ye: for the Kingdom
of Heaven is at hand,"
Matt. 3:2.   The message
included the one who would come after him (the
Messiah).   He would immerse them with the Holy
Ghost, Matt. 3:11.   Notice that it is Christ who is
doing the baptizing, never is it the Holy Spirit doing
the baptizing.
   In the context of Matt. 3:7-12, John the Baptist
speaks of several things that made up his message:
(i). Repentance, (ii). Faith, evidence of being
born-again, (iii). an immersion in the Holy Spirit:
the empowering of the corporate body of Christ,
(which took place once on the day of Pentecost with
the Lord's Church in Jerusalem never to happen
again), (iv). Judgment, (v). Separating of His own
for Heaven, (vi). Separating of the unbeliever unto
the Lake of Fire.

   2. John preached the same Gospel as Jesus

Christ, Mk.1:1.   The very first words of the Book of
Mark begin with the Gospel and John the Baptist is
the first preacher of it.   In Mk. 1:15, we have this
important statement by our Lord, "...The time is
fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand: repent
ye, and believe the Gospel."
  What Gospel?   Mark
1:1, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.   It is
clearly spelled out, we don't need to have some
great scholar tell us that John the Baptist and our
Lord Jesus Christ both were preaching a gospel of
the Kingdom, and that it was a different gospel than
what we are to preach today.   Nonsense!!   Look at it
with a heart desiring to see truth and you will see
that it is the same Gospel that we are to preach
today.
   C. He had a special work to perform -- he was
sent with special authorization to bring Christian
Baptism.   Baptist Church Baptism.   He was sent to
immerse those that had repented of their sins and by
faith looked to a coming Messiah.
   1. He prepared material for the Church.   Luke
1:17.
   In the other 3 gospels there are 2 terms used
to explain his task; i). to prepare the way, ii). make
his way straight.   But in Luke 1:17, we find out what
he was preparing.   The material that he prepared
was people.   He baptized the saved, immersed them
in water identifying them in picture form with the
coming death, burial and resurrection of the
Saviour, Jesus Christ.   John prepared the material -
people, and the Lord Jesus took of that material and
began to build His own Church.
   2. He was sent, authorized to Baptize, John
1:33.
   No one else was ever sent from heaven before
or after John with a similar designation or purpose.

"...but he that sent me to baptize with water..."
The one sending him was the Sovereign God of the
Universe.   No one else has ever made a claim like
this.   All the apostles were baptized by John.   Our
Lord walked 60 miles to be baptized of him.   Why?
Because only John was authorized to Baptize -- that
authorization came from God.   It is the only baptism
that is valid as entrance into the Lord's Church
today.

V. Conclusion.

   Where does John the Baptist fit in?   He was a very
special person who had been specially prepared.   He
is not an Old Testament figure.   But neither is he in
the Church that Jesus Christ built.   He preached only
a short time maybe less than a year.   He began a
little while before Christ came to him for baptism
and went a few months until he was imprisoned and
soon beheaded.   He says of himself that he is not in
the Bride, John 3:28,29.   He was a friend of the
Bridegroom, sent to go before the bridegroom and
prepare a way (people) for him.   Among men who
were born of women, there is no greater man than
John the Baptist.   Nor is there a greater name given
to a man than "the Baptist."   Never be ashamed of
the name Baptist for it was given by Divine
Designation.

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