John The Baptist

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

PEOPLE TALK OF THE SELF-MADE man, but here in John The Baptist we have found the God-made man. The Baptizer was a man who lived among the mountains and the deserts of Judea and Sumeria, surviving on wild berries and honey. He referred to himself as a voice in the wilderness, as one who considered himself a lowly person expressing a particular notion in the favor of his particular God of evangelism, finding solace in the cherished words of Isaiah the Hebrew prophet: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. He was certain, despite appearances, that the Jewish people in time would understand that he was right.

Rumors. Laughing gullibles laughing no more. Whispers among careful women, suspicious men. Children who either could care less or who just wanted to gawk at the strangers who came into town in strange unkempt clothing. That’s how it all gets started. Awe and desperation, a need for something worth noticing. Those were the early days of the outspoken and compassionate. Old myths withering on the vine, ready for the pruning blade as new ones are busy being born. Jesu, or John the Baptist—we are told—is a first cousin of Yeshua, or Jesus [of Nazareth].

Whether this familial connection is of vital purpose to the anointments of each in the eyes of Yahweh, we are never explicitly told. But we do know that the Hebrew scriptures are mostly the purloin tales of a few related families over a fifteen to twenty century epoch.

This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.

In Gnosticism, John the Baptist was a “personification” of the Old Testament prophet Elijah. Elijah did not know the True God (as opposed to the Abrahamic God), and thus had to be reincarnated in Gnostic theology. As predicted by the Old Testament prophet Malachi, Elijah must “come first” to herald the coming of Jesus Christ. Modern anthroposophy concurs with the idea that the Baptist was a reincarnation of Elijah, although the Gospel of John explicitly denies this.

We have several problems with this peculiar notion of Elijah, which sounds more like something from the Unification Church Moonies, and thus how the life of Elijah relates to John the Baptist which has nothing to do with reincarnation. Especially since, Jesus himself, when pressed on this matter of whether or not John the Baptist had been Elijah, said something along the lines, “If you think it is so.”From one translation:

19 This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am A VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”

24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25 They asked him, and said to him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. 27 “It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 “This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ 31 “I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.” 32 John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33 “I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ 34 “I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

To be continued…